The Impact of VOSH in 2018 

VOSH has grown tremendously since its inception by Dr. Franklin Harms in the early 1970’s.  In 2018, VOSH counted 84 Chapters worldwide with thousands of VOSH members that provided care in over 100 clinics.  VOSH provided eye care to thousands of people in need both in our own communities and around the world.  However, that is not all that VOSH did….

VOSH is working hard in many different ways to contribute to global optometry and helping all to access eye care. VOSH/International has several key projects including:

  • Data Collection to contribute to the global knowledge base of vision loss, blindness and the need for eye care
  • MOVE (Motivating Others to VOSH Excellence) launched the Ambassadors’ Programsharing of education and expertise in specific areas such as contact lenses, low vision, ocular health, and primary optometry by supporting experts (VOSH/International Ambassadors) to visit emerging VOSH and SVOSH chapters 
  • Technology transfer program had a big year by providing equipment to the new optometry school in Haiti
  • VOSH Corps continue to help recruit and place faculty members at newly established Optometry schools
  • Resource for VOSH chapters for domestic and international work

You can read more about these efforts and how you can get involved on our website at vosh.org.

VOSH/International is proud to be a continued part of the philanthropic community in eye care.  Vision Care Product News (VCPNz) published a wonderful edition that highlights this community in their ‘Philantra-Optic Section’; you can read more about it here:  

https://www.visioncareproducts.com/digital-edition-december-2018/

Looking forward to everyone’s continued and expanded efforts in 2019!  

Tracy Matchinski, OD, FAAO, FVI

President VOSH/International

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Updated COVID-19 and VOSH Humanitarian Clinics Advice

Due to an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 infections, a new variant that is more contagious, and these being early days in the vaccination distribution, VOSH/International DOES NOT recommend that chapters participate in domestic or international eye and vision clinics at this time.

We reiterate that at a time when the coronavirus continues to spread quickly in many parts of the world and vaccinations are not yet available to local populations, the risk of close contact with patients in a crowded outpatient environment remains high.

If a VOSH Chapter or VOSH volunteer chooses to hold a clinic against our best guidance, this is done at your own risk, by your own decision and should be in line with current local/national government rules.  VOSH/International would like to reiterate that 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.  You can download VOSH/International clinic guidelines here

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 patience in these unprecedented times, hard work and dedication to improving vision and eye health throughout the world.

John Daniel Twelker, OD, PhD, FAAO, FVI

President, VOSH/International

January 2021