I had the opportunity to attend the Our Children’s Vision Partners Meeting on February 5th and 6th, 2018 in Chilaw, Sri Lanka.  Our Children’s Vision is a global effort lead by Brien Holden Vision Institute and has 73 partner organizations, one of which is VOSH/International.  Attending the meeting were 50 participants representing 25 of the partner organizations.  This is a powerful initiative by the Brien Holden Vision Institute with the purpose “to upscale, accelerate and expand access to eye health services to more children in more locations”.  To date, this program has screened 18 million children with the goal of providing services to 50 million children by 2020. They have developed guidelines and work towards sustainable system change.  Mechanisms of this campaign include:

  • Powerful partnerships
  • Child eye Health services
  • Driving awareness
  • Local knowledge
  • Support for services

Our Children’s Vision is leading this call to action by:

  • Advocacy for changes to policy, practice and financing
  • Health education and promotion
  • Research
  • Practioner and Health Worker education
  • Harness Technology driven solutions
  • Disability Inclusiveness
  • Alignment with child health, welfare and development policies, the SDGs and the GAP

Creating access to eyecare will enable children to access education and ensure best quality of life.  Children should not be hindered in their education because of a vision problem.  Children’s eye health must be part of children’s health and education and integrated into local health policies.  Our Children’s Vision is bringing all partners together for global development and consolidated efforts to drive sustainable change.  You can find out more information about this campaign and lend your support at https://ourchildrensvision.org/

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