SEPTEMBER SVOSH CHAPTER OF THE MONTH:
THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF OPTOMETRY

Another SVOSH chapter undertook the incredible task of organizing a trip to Africa on its own. Typically SVOSH-OSU travels to Central or South America for its annual trip. Traveling to Africa this year was a huge undertaking . But they report the experience was well worth the challenge. The 14 students and 3 doctors who attended this year’s trip are all so thankful to have met our Ghanaian patients!

Read on for the report submitted by OSU’s Carolyn Chakuroff. And look for their photos in the SVOSH Photo contest below.
——-

This year, Ohio State’s SVOSH organization traveled to 8 rural communities within the Eastern Region of Ghana. We provided full, dilated eye examinations to 691 patients over 4 days of clinic. Our partner, the St. Theresa Eye Clinic did an incredible job recruiting patients from these villages to our clinics and it was a true pleasure meeting the village chiefs and assembly coordinators who often got the first eye exam of the day as an example for their people.In addition, we worked closely with Dr. Emmanuel Owusu – a Ghanaian native who recently graduated with his Ph.D. from Ohio State. It was a special priveledge to work beside him providing eye care and education in his home country.

We referred 25 patients for cataract removal. Dr. Tom Mauger from the OSU Ophthalmology department and his resident completed 41 cataract procedures, including our referrals, the week after we left. Thanks to the support of our donors and VOSH International, we were able to leave behind a collection of sunglasses, hats, readers, frames, and lens blanks for the clinic to use with these patients after we are gone

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