(This report was emailed to Executive Director, Natalie Venezia, following VOSH-Santa Cruz’s mission to Peru in August 2016.)

Hello Natalie,

Just returned from our mission to Peru. We were able to receive 2,761 patients during the clinic. We were 44 on the team. It was a clinic where we received a lot of children, and I have a number of glasses to make since it seems all the children had minus 4 – minus 6 cyls!! It was the second time we used our new Spot Vision check, and it was quite impressive. We have managed to use it with a portable WIFI, which enables us to print all the info on a self-adhesive label. Welch Allyn told us that it was not possible to do so, but our technician proved them wrong. We are starting a new project in the fall to reach out to schools in Montreal that are in poorer areas of the city to assure that the school children who need glasses have them. We are going to do screening in the schools and then give them a coupon that will enable them to receive a free eye exam, which is paid for by the government for children. Then the foundation will pay for the glasses.

By the way, I am overstocked in new frames, plus I have a quantity of analyzed single vision minus glasses (men’s and women’s), as well as women’s positive and negative bifocals. They are all labelled.

P.S. A filming crew came to Peru to film for two days and will do another two days of filming at our warehouse Sep 17-18. They are preparing a short film on VOSH-Santa Cruz in French and English.

Bye for now,

Pierre

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