August 1-11, 2015
On August 2, 2015, the VOSH Southeast team of 19 volunteers arrived at the Silvio Pettirossi International Airport greeted by our hosts, Ellie and Laura Bay and Jose Bogado, and then travelled to the Clyde Bay Clinic in Yeguarizo, Paraguay, less than 2 hours from the capital city, Asuncion. Once at the clinic we prepared for a busy week by unpacking thousands of glasses and eye drops and training individuals on skills such as tonometry, visual acuities, auto-refraction, glucose and blood pressure testing and dispensing glasses so that over the next 5 days, we would provide primary eye care for over 2200 patients and dispense 2339 pair of glasses or new frames. Many patients have relied on this site in the past for their eye exams and glasses, often telling us that they remember us from previous years.
We were fortunate to be accompanied by the ophthalmology residents from the Programa Vision Foundation, who provided their services so that our patients who needed surgical or follow-up could benefit. Also, the local nursing students were very helpful with registering patients and checking visual acuities and we could not have completed our work without the 5 Peace Corp Volunteers who offered their outstanding skills in translation. Also, the staff at the site was very kind and generous to VOSH Southeast with delicious food and everything that we could ever ask for to make our stay comfortable.
One of the highlights of the week included the celebration of Stanley Sagara’s 92nd birthday. We dined at the Como en Casa Restaurante on the evening of Wednesday, August 5, and celebrated with a delicious meal and Mariachi entertainment and dancing. We were honored to have Stanley work alongside us throughout the week repairing and adjusting glasses for our patients.
At the conclusion of the clinic, the group travelled together to view the powerful Iguazu Falls on the border of Argentina. It was an amazing sight and a perfect ending to the week.
The team included optometrists and optometry students but more importantly we had volunteers from all walks of life throughout the US including teachers, students, retirees, and attorneys. It was a great group of people who brought their knowledge and experiences together to show compassion toward our patients; they had the willingness to learn, to teach, and to problem solve.
The organizational support of Harold Babine and VOSH Southeast cannot be understated. We are also grateful for the following who donated supplies and financial support:
Bausch + Lomb
Wisconsin Lions Foundation Eyeglasses Recycling Center
Indiana Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center
Clyde E. Bay Foundation
With their support many more Paraguayans will be able to sew with precision, read their Bibles, see more clearly, drive more safely, have eye protection from the sun, learn that they have diabetes, treat their glaucoma and dry eyes, and prevent blindness.
To view a photojournalist, Elton Nunez, blog of the clinic: http://www.yluux.com/2015/08/11/v-o-s-h-mision-en-paraguay-para-la-salud-optica/
Charles H. Covington, Sr. Mission Leader
John Spencer, OD, Clinic Director
Lisa Weber, OD
Crystal Kawano, optometry student SCCO
Betty Ng, optometry student SCCO
Gloria Young, optometry student SCCO
Charles ‘Chip’ Covington, III
|Monday||Tuesday||Wednesday||Thursday||Friday||Total||percent||average per day (based on 4.5 days)|
|number per day||354||404||277||589||584||2208|
|4.00 and higher||48||74||66||90||76||354||15.13%||78.67|
|0.50 to 2.25||4||9||11||29||10||63||2.69%||14|
|total number of glasses||2339||519.78|