Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellows work with Centro de Salud Integral Zoe (formerly COVA Eye Clinic), which is based in Tegucigalpa. The eye clinic's staff and Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellows provide outreach programs in remote rural villages located 1-3 hours from the capital city of Tegucigalpa. The team of eye doctors and Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellows is transported on a van to the villages during the morning and returns to Tegucigalpa in the late afternoon. When working in a village that is particularly far from Tegucigalpa, the outreach team may stay overnight for up to two nights at a location closer to the village. Patients requiring surgery are brought to ZOE Eye Clinic in Tegucigalpa.
Volunteers may arrive on any Wednesday and depart on any Wednesday in 2014 or 2015. Volunteers participate for 2-4 weeks. If pursuing a research study in the Global Impact Lab, volunteers may participate for up to 8 weeks.
In the villages, more than 100 patients each day receive an exam, diagnosis, eyeglasses, medication, and treatment. Patients requiring ophthalmic care and surgery are transported from the villages to the eye clinic in Tegucigalpa. At the eye clinic, patients receive care and sight-restoring surgery by the clinic's ophthalmologist team, led by Dr. Eduardo Flores, the Medical Director.
Additionally, Global Impact Fellows work with an eye technician at the San Lorenzo Clinic Screening Center in San Lorenzo, where patients are screened for cataracts and eye disease. Patients receive eyeglasses on-site by the Tech in Optometry as needed. Those requiring eye treatment, medication, or surgery are brought to ophthalmologist Dr. Eduardo Flores and his team of doctors at Central de Salud Integral Zoe in Tegucigalpa.
Global Impact Fellows also assist with patients at the eye clinic in Tegucigalpa.
This program provides an extensive and immersive global health experience, and Global Impact Fellows learn about the complexities and realities of global health and social entrepreneurship from the Unite For Sight program as well as from the eye clinic staff.
Additionally, for those with a special interest in medicine, ophthalmology, or optometry, the eye clinic's staff provides opportunities to learn ophthalmic and optometric skills. Global Impact Fellows also have an opportunity to observe cataract and pterygium surgeries provided at the eye clinic.
This program is suitable to anyone 18 years and older who has an interest in international service and health. Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellows are 18 years and older, and there is no upper age limit. Individuals between the ages of 15 and 17 may participate as Global Impact Fellows if they participate with a parent who is also a Global Impact Fellow. Volunteers range from gap year students, undergraduate students, and medical students to public health students, public health professionals, nurses, educators, and opticians.
An ability to understand and speak Spanish is a requirement. Full fluency in Spanish is not required, but it is very important for volunteers to be proficient and be able to communicate well in Spanish with the patients and the eye clinic staff.
Standard Global Impact Fellows
Global Impact Fellows assist the ophthalmic technician and doctors in all aspects of the eye care programs. They take patient history, test visual acuity, assist the eye technicians and doctors with examinations, distribute medication and eyeglasses prescribed by the technician, provide eye health education in the villages and schools, and help with the coordination of patient surgeries. Global Impact Fellows also have an opportunity to observe sight-restoring surgeries provided by the ophthalmic team at the eye clinic.
Eye Care Professional Volunteers
Ophthalmologist volunteers work daily with the ophthalmologists at the eye clinic to provide ophthalmic care, and specialists may provide surgeries. Optometrists work with the eye clinic's local optometrist to provide optometric care in the rural villages.
Increasing numbers of Unite For Sight ophthalmologist and optometrist volunteers are bringing their teenage children to accompany them on the Unite For Sight program. The eye care professionals and their family members are able to participate in varying capacities to provide eye care to patients living in extreme poverty. The teenagers participate as standard volunteers, while the optometrists and ophthalmologists work with the local Honduran ophthalmic staff to provide optometric and ophthalmic services. Those interested in this opportunity are encouraged to view the video by Dr. Rose, who participated in Ghana with his wife and three teenage daughters. Each family member interested in participating is required to apply separately to the program and submit individual pre-departure requirements.
Filmmaker and Photography Volunteers
Unite For Sight filmmaker and photographer volunteers document the voices of patients who receive sight-restoring eye care through Unite For Sight programs. The videos and photos promote awareness and information about global eye care needs and demonstrate the commitment and dedication of Unite For Sight's local partner eye doctors, who work tirelessly to provide eye care to those living in extreme poverty. This experience offers students, filmmakers, and photographers an opportunity to learn about development issues while making a significant impact.
While in Tegucigalpa, volunteers lodge in a rented apartment at a hotel across the street from the eye clinic. Global Impact Fellows have two lodging options. Volunteers lodge at Apartahotel Villa Mary, which is located across the street from the clinic in Tegucigalpa. Global Impact Fellows have two lodging options. They have an option to lodge alone in a single room for $35 per day, or if there is another volunteer who would like to share a room, they can share a room with another volunteer for $30 per day, per person. Both lodging options include a closet, warm water, cable television, air conditioning, and internet. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be purchased at a variety of fast food or national small restaurants near the hotel and clinic. Each meal is approximately $3-5.
There are also some days when volunteers will lodge at hotels in outreach locations, such as in San Lorenzo. Lodging costs in the outreach locations vary, and the maximum rate is usually $25 per day.
This program is suitable for undergraduate and public health students interested in pursuing an internship for academic credit, as well as for medical and optometry students interested in pursuing a clinical rotation for academic credit. You should consult your academic institution regarding how you can arrange this type of course credit. Unite For Sight will complete student performance evaluations required by a university so that a student can receive academic credit. We can also provide a letter for the university that confirms a student's planned participation in the Unite For Sight program and describes the student's pre-departure online global health coursework and global health field participation. Please see the Academic Credit section of the Unite For Sight website.
This program is also appropriate for undergraduate students, medical students, optometry students, and public health students who would like to pursue a community-based field research project, which requires that the student have a faculty mentor at their home institution as well as Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Those interested in research should read the Global Impact Lab and Entrepreneurial Volunteering sections of the Unite For Sight website.
Read narratives by past Honduras volunteers: http://www.uniteforsight.org/volunteer-abroad/volunteer-accounts#honduras