The amazing activity of VOSH chapters throughout the world is chronicled further by VOSH-Northwest. Superlative in its commitment and dedication, the chapter continues in the image of its long-time leader Ed Worthen who passed away much too young. VOSH-NW President Debbie McDonald submitted this short summary of the chapters startling activity ranging from Seattle to Nepal.

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VOSH NW proudly opened the Edward Worthen Memorial Clinic on April 8, 2017. This is a clinic that will be open one Saturday a month to service the Key Peninsula area. Ed Worthen was a past president of our chapter and long time Vosher. He was in the works of planning this clinic when he suddenly passed away in December, 2016. We followed through with his dream and made it a reality.

In January, 2017, we participated in the Kitsap Homeless Clinic where 75 people were seen for eye exams and glasses. This is a half-day clinic that VOSH NW has participated in for many years.

We participated in the Seattle/King County Clinic, a 4 day clinic held in the heart of Seattle, in October, performing 1219 exams and dispensing 1259 pairs of glasses.

November 2017 found our chapter traveling to Nepal where a total of 1350 people were seen over 5 days.

For 2018, a mission trip to Uganda in September is in the works, and a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in the spring of 2019 is being put together.

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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