OutreachPARAGUAY is looking to collaborate with a VOSH chapter to provide vision care to rural Caazapá and Caaguazú, Paraguay. An anticipated 500 patients would need both refractive and ocular health care. OutreachPARAGUAY has taken other healthcare teams to Paraguay, and has a signed agreement with the Paraguayan Ministry of Health. 

OutreachPARAGUAY has a history of organizing service-education trips to Paraguay. The organization provides assistance with trip organization including pre-departure training, in-country programming, in-country ground transportation, hotels, food, translators, and cultural experiences and excursions.

The Directors of OutreachPARAGUAY have been traveling to Paraguay for 30+ years and are well-connected. Milner Sosa was born in Paraguay and Eileen Sosa was introduced to Paraguay through her service as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Both would be very happy to explore how to bring needed eye care to resource-poor areas in Paraguay.

Please contact Eileen Sosa at epsosa60@gmail.com for more information. More information about the organization can be found at their website: http://outreachparaguay.org

 

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