For its repeated and marvelous support of the people of the Dominican Republic, and its many activities, we are proud to recognize VOSH-Nebraska as the VOSH June Chapter of the Month. 

Lindsey Behrendt, O.D. Nebraska-VOSH Chapter Member submitted the following report. Ellen Weiss, OD, FVI is the VOSH-Nebraska’s marvelous President:
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On January 8-11, 2018, Nebraska VOSH and associated VOSH members provided vision care to the people of Santiago and the surrounding communities in the Dominican Republic. The clinic was held at the Creighton University ILAC (Institute for Latin American Concern) Mission. 

Twenty-one volunteers from Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, and Oklahoma participated in the trip, including six optometrists and eight optometry students. 

The group saw 812 patients throughout their four-day clinic, and they dispensed 564 pairs of glasses on-site, not including sunglasses, lens cases, and other supplies dispensed. They custom ordered 57 pairs of glasses for patients that had prescriptions that were not able to be provided on-site and these will be dispensed to the patients in the following few weeks after their departure. The team referred 191 patients for further care and treatment, including cataract surgery, retina, strabismus, and glaucoma consultation. 

A team of surgeons will be at ILAC in March to perform surgeries and provide follow-up care for those patients in need. The trip was an extremely rewarding experience for all those involved and the group was met by thankfulness and grace from the Dominican community! 

Video link : https://www.facebook.com/IlacMission/videos/2092361267654213/

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