VOSH-North Carolina is celebrating an important anniversary this year with the Rotary Club of Grenada East: This dedicated Rotary Club has hosted a VOSH clinic for the past 20 consecutive years! It began with VOSH-Michigan, then VOSH-Illinois and since 2012, has collaborated and served alongside VOSH-North Carolina.

We celebrate their partnership in service and commitment to their local community. This Rotary Club truly puts service above self in all that they do. In preparation of clinic weeks, the Rotarians select appropriate community health clinics to host VOSH team of traveling doctors and other volunteers, and assists them in preparing for a vision clinic for the underserved in their communities. They have provided 20 years of transportation for VOSH teams and equipment. Additionally, they bring drinks, snacks and lunch to the clinics. Following clinics, the Rotarians host fellowship events, celebrating and cherishing the hard work of the partnering teams. Our VOSH teams are repeatedly overwhelmed by the Rotarians’ commitment to living a life of service to help build a stronger, healthier Grenada.

The Rotary Club of Grenada East was chartered in October 1977 and falls under District 7030. The club was chartered with 25 members with three currently serving charter members namely Fred Belfon, Leslie Ramdhanny and Truman Mignon. The club is the second of only two in the island with the other being the Rotary Club of Grenada in the capital, St. Georges. Whilst small in size (sixteen members), the diversity of the club’s member classifications ensure all facets of service to humanity are maintained. The mission statement for the club “Uniting a diversity of positive talents towards the promotion of peace, service and goodwill to humanity” is embedded into all club decisions. Last year, a dedicated Rotarian, Lola, wife of Keith Clarke, lost her battle with cancer. She leaves behind a legacy of service, friendship and strength.

The VOSH Champion Award is a new award as of March 2019 and recognizes the support of individuals and/or organizations outside of VOSH’s structures which help achieve VOSH’s mission in a selfless and totally committed manner. VOSH members rely on local partners to deliver successful clinics from taking care of the basic logistics to ensuring communities are aware of our available services to ensuring our volunteers feel safe and welcomed. Over the years, VOSH chapters have developed strong and positive relationships with innumerable local partners. The VOSH Champion Award intends to celebrate these important contributions to our work.

The VOSH Champion Award is offered quarterly. To nominate VOSH Champions complete the form below by March 1, June 1, September 1 and December 1. Awardees will be decided at the end of the respective quarter. Nominators can be VOSH and SVOSH chapters in good standing at the time of the nomination. Nominees can be individuals or organizations based in or outside the USA. NOMINATION FORM for Champion Award

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