Hello all,
We need more ODs to help us in conducting an eye camp in October in the Tibeto-Burmese indigenous people residing in the hilly regions of Nepal.
Detailed Itinerary:
Time:
Currently, our plan is to do this trip on the 3rd week of September, 20th to be exact. This will be the best time based on the weather conditions and thus the road travel. However, if the availability VOSH members travelling feel more comfortable at any other time, we can definitely look/discuss on that as well.
In addition, if any of the VOSH team members feel like staying for a couple of more days, you will be more than welcome to go for trekking or hiking in the Himalayas. We have a travel agent booked for the whole trip and they can provide you with an affordable rate for hiking and trekking expeditions.
Plans:
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu.
At Kathmandu International Airport, you will be met and welcomed by BVFN team. The travel agency will arrange the transportation to your hotel. There will be a full tour and program briefing in the evening while enjoying a traditional Newari dinner.
Day 2: Kathmandu Valley Tour
The travel agent has arranged a full day Kathmandu valley tour.
• Drive to Bouddhanath Stupa  and sightseeing for about 45 minutes in Bouddhanath
• Drive to Pashupatinath temple and sightseeing for about 45 minutes
• Drive to Patan Durbar Square, visit the old royal palace, golden temple, and Mahabouddha temple and sightseeing in Durbar Square area for about 45 minutes
• At 6:30 in the evening Nepali Traditional dinner with Cultural Program
Day 3: Kathmandu – Manahari, Makwanpur (Only Bed)
This marks the beginning of our actual program. We will be travelling to Hetauda, the district headquarter of Makwanpur district. Kathmandu to Hetauda by road is approximately 90 kilometres. As this is a very hilly road with lots of steep turns, it will take about 5 hours in a four-wheel drive.
After having breakfast in the hotel, at 9 am, we will start our journey to Hetauda. We will stop for a small break at Hetauda and from there to Manhari is about an hour drive (as it is fairly a straight highway).
We will spend our night at a hotel in Manhari.
Day 4-7: Manahari – Raksirang
We will be travelling to the villages (Raksirang/Kailash) to start the eye camp. We will arrange a four-wheel SUV/Van to take us from Manhari to the villages and back to Manhari hotel. We have to come back to Manhari as there are no accommodation options in the villages.
If we finish these two villages (5000 population) in 3 days, we can spend the next day in another Chepang village.
Day 8: Manahari – Sauraha (Chitwan National Park)
After four days of extensive and tiring eye camp, time to relax a little bit, enjoy local culture and pristine natural views in Sauraha. After 2-3 hours’ drive from Manahari we will reach Sauraha for lunch. After lunch we will have Tharu Village Tour then sun set view followed by Tharu Cultural Program and dinner at Hotel.
Day 9: Activities in Sauraha
On this day there will be Elephant Back Safari, Canoe ride, Visit to Elephant Breeding Center and short jungle walk.
If time allows, we will visit an eye hospital in Bharatpur and see how a large volume eye hospitals in Nepal function.  
Day 10: Fly Back to Kathmandu
After breakfast we will go Bird Watching and then transfer to Bharatpur Airport. You will be met by the travel agency representative and transfer to your hotel.
If time allows, we will visit BP Koirala Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies which runs the country’s only optometry program.
C. Eye Camp:
a. Target villages: Raksirang, Kailash
b. Duration: 4 days, 6 hours per day
c. Total population: 5000-7500
d. Activities in the camp: Vision screening, eye health screening, distribution of spectacles for presbyopia and simple refractive errors (readymade spectacles), distribution of medicines for common eye diseases, public awareness programs about eye and vision health, screening for general health problems (if possible),
e. Personnel for the camp: Optometrists from BVFN, VOSH team, local volunteers, Nurse/Health assistant, Optometry students from Nepal, translators etc
D. The travel plan/cost includes:
• All transfers to and from the airport accompanied by an English speaking representative.
• All transportation.
• All accommodation based on twin sharing. Twin rooms are provided for non-couples as well as couples
• English speaking Guide for Kathmandu Valley Tour.   
• All meals (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) – All park permit – Elephant Safari – Village Tour – Cultural Program – Elephant Breeding Center – Canoeing – short Jungle Walk – Bird Watching at Chitwan National Park.
• Return air ticket from Bharatpur.
E. Individual cost responsibilities:
• International Air fare and Airport Tax.
• Any kind of personal Travel Insurance.
• Any item not detailed in the “What is Included”
• Any other personal expenses (Phone calls, bar bills, laundry, water bottle etc)
F. Total Cost:
1100 USD per person

Thank you so much.

Please contact us at :
bvfnepal@gmail.com
paudel.nabin@gmail.com
gyawalirajendra@gmail.com

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