Your February news & updates
This month we feature funding opportunities for our chapters, updates on projects, key global observances, chapters updates, webinars on glaucoma and a very relevant Insight by our President. Please share this newsletter with members of your chapter and send us news for future issues.
President’s Insights

The role of VOSH volunteers in identifying and preventing COVID-19
COVID-19, previously referred to as “2019-nCoV” or the “Wuhan coronavirus,” is a novel coronavirus that started in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Its origin appears to be from bats but there may be in intermediate host such as a pangolin which in some regions of the world are used as food or medicine. Once transmitted to humans , person-to-person transmission is clearly occurring inside and outside of China.

President Twelker elaborates on the role that VOSH volunteers play in preventing the spread of this new virus and shares key resources to keep us updated. Read the whole article here.
VOSH NorthWest is Chapter of the Month
VOSH Northwest is Chapter of the month. Their commitment to the local population has seen them serve 200 people in the Kitsap Homeless Clinic and collaborate with the Union Gospel Clinic in Spokane, WA. In May 2019, VOSH NW travelled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, completing a 5-day mission clinic, serving 2300 local citizens. This September they will be going to Lima, Peru and will continue participating in local charities activities in Washington State. Besides the clinics, this chapter has started restructuring the way they run international clinics with a push to use new glasses and updating their branding. Our heartfelt congratulations to VOSH Northwest. More information here
Grants available to VOSH/International chapters
We encourage our chapters to consider applying to the following grants. If you need clarifications, please contact Deadline for applications is March 20th . Do not miss this opportunity !!
1.Grants for US VOSH chapters to support clinics for US local vulnerable groups
We have funding for 6 USA VOSH chapters to organise humanitarian clinics supporting vulnerable communities in the USA. These communities include but are not limited to homeless people, migrants, schools in low income areas, LGBTQ people, victims of natural disasters or elderly people in need. Each successful VOSH chapter will receive $1,500 to implement this work. More information on the criteria and application process is found here.
2.Grants for US-Canadian SVOSH chapters to support school or community clinics in Latin American and Caribbean countries   
We have funding to support 7 USA and Canadian SVOSH chapters to help implement clinics either for schools or communities. Each successful SVOSH chapter will receive $1,500 to implement this work. More information on the criteria and application process is found here.
3.Fondos para capítulos VOSH y SVOSH de Latinoamérica para realizar exámenes optométricos en escuelas.  
Tenemos disponibles fondos para 8 capitulos SVOSH o VOSH de Latinoamerica para proyectos que realicen exámenes optométricos en escuelas (primarias o secundarias) en zonas de escasos recursos. Cada proyecto recibirá US$ 1,500 para realizar este trabajo. Lea mas sobre los requisitos y la forma para solicitar los fondos aquí.
Update on our projects – Being part of the Ghana Contact Lenses Project
Last November Dr Deepa Chandrasekaran visited the School of Optometry at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana as part of our Contact Lens project in this country. 

In 2019, VOSH/International was awarded a XOVA (Excellence in Ophthalmology Vision Award) grant to increase the knowledge of Ghanaian local eye care professionals on rigid gas permeable lenses (RGPs). Dr Deepa Chandrasekaran shares her experience teaching in Ghana in this interesting article. Read it here.
Dr Deepa Chandrasekaran with 4th-year KNUST Optometry students.
News from our chapters
Single vision negative glasses on offer  

VOSH-Santa Cruz is willing to share their overstock of single vision negative glasses with other chapters that may need them. They are analysed, labelled and ready to go. If your chapter is interested, please contact Pierre Labine at for more details.

VOSH-CT is looking for volunteers for clinic in the USA

VOSH-CT is seeking 8-10 ODs for its upcoming eye care clinic to Emporia, VA. The dates are June 25-28, 2020. Family members are also welcomed to attend as additional volunteer clinic members. If interested, please contact Dr. Matthew Blondin at

VOSH-Santa Cruz is looking for student volunteers for clinics in Ecuador and Mexico

VOSH-Santa Cruz has places available for students interested in joining their clinics in Ecuador departing on July 22 nd   and Mexico departing Nov 21st. If interested, please contact Pierre Labine at
News from Colombian SVOSH FundAndina  
Our Colombian SVOSH chapter at the Universidad Fundación del Area Andina shared the following information on their clinics. A team of 30 volunteer students and 3 faculty advisers organised a clinic in Pereira supporting 70 children and young people who are disabled or at risk dispensing 56 glasses. These children are helped by the local Fundacion Sinapsis Vital. This SVOSH chapter also organised a school screening for vulnerable children at the Colegio Salesiano Don Juan Bosco helping another 70 children and dispensing 42 glasses. You can read the full report here .
Relevant observances of this month  
World Cancer Day- February 4th
With higher numbers of people experiencing cancer during their lifetime, optometrists need to understand the ocular side effects of chemotherapy that are not uncommon but often go under-reported.   
International Day of Women and Girls in Science -February 11th
Women and girls play a critical role in science and technology. However, a significant gender gap persists at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world. Less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women and only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. The UN has decided to raise awareness and act to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, celebrating their contribution every February 11 th . Kudos to the growing number of female optometrists across the world. More information here
US National Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month

Approximately 11 million individuals are affected with AMD in the United States alone, with a global prevalence of 170 million. AMD is the leading cause of visual disability in high income countries and the third leading cause globally. This month Bausch + Lomb and Prevent Blindness are partnering to spread the word about eye health and AMD. More information here or follow #SightMatters.
Mark your calendar- VOSH/International Midyear Meeting, June 26 and 27
This year our Mid Year Meeting will be held on June 27th preceded by Board and Committee meetings on June 26th. As it is customary, we are planning the event at the time of AOA's Optometry's Meeting to be held in Washington DC at National Harbour. If you are attending Optometry's Meeting this year please consider attending our Mid Year Meeting. We will be sharing the program and more details soon. For more information please contact the Executive Director at .