April 2018

MOVE: Motivating Others to VOSH Excellence

UNAN and ICO optometry students November 2017

How can we make our VOSH clinic trips more impactful? Team up with local optometry! In November 2017, I lead a team from VOSH Illinois including seven of my students from the Illinois College of Optometry, http://www.ico.edu, to work with local optometry for a community service project in Mexico City. My longtime friend and fellow optometrist from Mexico, Dr. Cecilia Escobar, organized locally and coordinated participation from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico Optometry program, http://optometria.iztacala.unam.mx/. ICO and 16 UNAN optometry students worked side by side to provide care to 1500 patient during a week-long clinic in Mexico City. During this time, the students worked side by side to provide optometric care. Clinical skills and ideas were exchanged and relationships formed. Through the MOVE program, funded by Optometry Giving Sight, http://www.givingsight.org, the ICO SVOSH club was able to present 10 sets of retinoscopy bars to the UNAN program to support them in their continued community service projects.

UNAN and ICO optometry students November 2017

VOSH clinic trips are a valuable way of enhancing local optometry capacity and the MOVE grant provides an opportunity to provide equipment for optometric community service. These grants are for 2 years projects and are funded at $1,500.00. To learn more and apply for MOVE grants see: http://vosh.org/chapters/

 

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