For their commitment, dedication and activities including their continuity in visiting Panama every two years, their collaboration with new partners such as HELPS, numbers of patients served and robust membership, VOSH/International is delighted to select VOSH-Kansas as the July, 2018 VOSH Chapter of the Month.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, tree, sky, outdoor and nature     Chapter President Jenee Barth, OD, provided the detail below. Read on:

VOSH Kansas is a highly active chapter. Our current active membership is over 50 doctors and we average 2-3 trips per year to help the underserved. We continue to help the people of Colon, Panama every ot

Image may contain: 20 people, people smiling, people standing and indoorher year as an ongoing mission. Kansas VOSH serves multiple villages all over the country of Guatemala.

In 2017, VOSH joined forces with HELPS international on their first ever combined mission trip. This trip included the optometry team of VOSH Kansas and the surgery team of HELPS international. Over 1200 patients were seen and treated with either glasses, meds or surgery including cataract surgery, strabismus surgery, lacrimal duct repair surgery, levator lid surgery, removal of neurofibromas and enucleations.

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people standing and indoorImage may contain: 11 people, people smilingOur VOSH team just returned from Panama and saw over 3,200 patients. Another VOSH Kansas team is headed to Guatemala again the first week of May with HELPS International to complete the second mission of this kind.

VOSH started in Kansas and is still a live an active chapter to date!

 

 

 

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