How many of you hold missions in the Mayor’s home?


Active for 3 decades in VOSH-WI, chapter Vice President Jan Harmsen recounts the chapter’s latest of their 3-4 yearly clinics.
We salute VOSH-WI as the May Chapter of the Month led by Chapter President Mark Ebben. (nomination
s or self-nominations for chapter of the month can be made on the vosh.org website clicking on top menu >chapters then>Chapter of the Month>then orange banner.

Jan’s nomination is below:
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Personally I am proud to be a VOSH WI member for almost 30 years. VOSH mission work is a passion of mine. Here is a little bit about our group:

VOSH-WI is 17 members made up of dedicated optometrists, paraoptometrics and support staff. Yearly, three to four missions to various third world countries are shared with those in need.

Our most recent mission was held in Juan Santiago, Dominican Republic in January this year. With 3 optometrists and 4 support staff, 910 persons received care. Due to the poverty in this city, the best available space for our clinic was the mayor’s home. His car port was a registration and exam area. One of the bedrooms was also used as an exam room. His living room was the dispensing area. It worked out well, flexibility at it’s finest! My team has concentrated on the providence of the Dominican Republic next to the Haitian boarder for the past several years. This is the poorest region of the entire country. 90% of our patients are illiterate and the glasses we provide enable them to enroll in a government program for adults learning to read and write. The impact has been nothing short of amazing.
WI VOSH missions are also held in Haiti and Nicaragua on a regular basis.

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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