Peru January 2016

In January 2016 Michel Listenberger, OD, FVI, (VOSH-MI) with a team of three St. Olaf students organized and conducted a mission trip to Cusco and Willoq, Peru.

A primary focus of this mission was to explore and experience the delivery of health care to Peru.  This consisted of a college undergraduate class that began with classroom learning in Northfield, MN and continued with three weeks in Cusco, Willoq and Ariqueppa.  Three students along with myself were assigned to eye care delivery although other students had the opportunity to rotate into the eye care area of delivery.  Eighteen students participated in a January interim term class.  This was the first time for eye care to be included in this project.

During the first week in Cusco we worked at an orphanage.  Other orphanages brought people into our clinic as well.  Here we saw 125 patients, mostly young people ages seven through eighteen. Here we found needs for about 25 pairs of glasses.  We also brought sunglasses from a student fundraiser for the children.  The clinic was conducted in the orphanage.

During our second week we were in Willoq about an hour from Cusco.  Here we examined the local population which was almost completely speaking their local dialect of Queshwa (interpreted into spanish).  Here we saw about 125 people who were mostly adults.

In all we used about 150 pairs of glasses and are storing the remaining glasses for a future trip.  There glasses made a huge difference for a lot of people since the youth certainly couldn’t afford the glasses and the Willoq community didn’t have access to eye care.  Three patients were referred to Dr. Nathan Henson (two for cataracts and one for glaucoma).

This was a first-time small trip but all objectives were achieved.

Respectively submitted,
With sincere appreciation,
Michel Listenberger, OD, FVI

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