Data Collection-are you up to the challenge?

http://vosh.org/clinic-data/

From our website “As one of the largest organizations that provides direct delivery service of eye care in the developing world, VOSH Chapters have the potential to make a significant contribution to alleviating the global burden of blindness and visual impairment by simply recording our data.” Annually VOSH clinics serve thousands of people all over the world. Thousands receive glasses, medication, referrals and education about their eyes. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was data to further validate the important work that VOSH Chapters are doing? The data can be used by organizations such as IAPB, WCO, BHVI and others to gain information on global eyecare needs. VOSH Chapters can also use it to better prepare for clinic trips if common refractive errors and ocular conditions in a region are better understood.

Data collection is an immense effort for VOSH teams. If it is done during the clinic trip, it may be difficult as the team has already put in a long clinic day. If the data collection is left until after a team returns home, sometimes the data is put on the back burner and may stay there. Advice from VOSH Chapters that have successfully contributed data is to collect data during the clinic trip. One of the best ways to do this is to add a station to your clinic. Make it part of the clinic and assign VOSH team members to review exams forms and enter the data live during the clinic.

Data collection can be thought of in two levels-basic and comprehensive. If you have not yet collected data, the basic level may be a good place to start moving to the comprehensive level on your next VOSH clinic trip. The basic level collects information on number of patients seen, gender, age groups, glasses dispenses, referrals made. On our website, this data can be uploaded daily or at the end of your clinic trip. The comprehensive level uses a VOSH developed universal exam form labeled “SOS Intake & Exam Form”. These forms are completed on every patients and scanned in. A software program is able to analyze the data and provide results on all parts of the examination and inclusive of all the basic level data. Forms for both the basic and advanced data collection are found on our website at: http://vosh.org/clinic-data/. There is a PowerPoint to assist understanding how to use the universal form and if you have any question please ask at vosh@vosh.org.

Data collection is not easy, but it is important. The good news is that VOSHers are hard workers and very capable to take this extra important step that will help contribute to solutions in the field of global eyecare. VOSH Chapters are up to the challenge of data collection!

Tracy Matchinski, OD, FAAO, FVI

President VOSH/International

Updated COVID-19 and VOSH Humanitarian Clinics Advice

VOSH/International recently consulted its US and International Chapters about the feasibility and timing to restart our humanitarian clinics. While the vaccination process continues with different levels of success depending on availability and acceptance, it is evident that vaccine inequity and the availability and reliability of data in several countries are issues we need to consider.

Even if already vaccinated, our chapters are still concerned about the wellbeing of our volunteers and patients.  Some chapters, are organizing clinics locally where they are better able to comply with the existing safety requirements and respective state/country regulations.

The COVID-19 pandemic is being experienced quite differently depending on state, region, country, vaccine availability, vaccine acceptance, and the spread of SARS-COV-2 variants. Most VOSH chapters are not holding clinics or traveling internationally in 2021.

Thus, VOSH/International is slightly moderating its overall guidance against clinics and travel issued in late March 2020 and renewed in January 2021. This will be reviewed and communicated on a quarterly basis.

If a VOSH Chapter choses to hold a clinic or travel internationally, we highly recommend that the chapter performs due diligence to comply fully with the requirements established by the visited country, ensures all VOSH volunteers are aware of and follow strict safety guidelines and all existing protocols and regulations of the country, and keeps the principle of “do no harm” embedded in all its decision making. As always, the wellbeing and safety for VOSH volunteers and our patients is of utmost importance and central to any decision-making process. We have published our updated clinic guidelines with best practices to be observed in this new context. VOSH chapters in specific countries are using protocols that need to be considered as well. You can download VOSH/International clinic guidelines here.

*VOSH/International is formed by autonomous US and international chapters that are fully and only responsible for their activities, fundraising and decision-making.  VOSH/International can only provide recommendations based on our best knowledge and information at the time.

Also please keep checking the following sites with official and most recent updates:

World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

US CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/when-to-delay-travel.html

US Government Travel Advise: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to improving vision and eye health throughout the world.

John Daniel Twelker, OD, PhD, FAAO, FVI

President, VOSH/International

July 2021