About once a year or every two years, IRIS Mundial organizes a group mission where a multidisciplinary Canadian team goes to offer eye exams, sunglasses and prescription glasses, as well as eye medications to underprivileged people in a region where no service is available.
Sometimes, during these missions, a surgical component is also planned, allowing to perform surgeries mainly on cases of severe cataracts and pterygium. These one-time projects last one to two weeks and the goal is to help approximately 1,800 – 2,000 patients who have never received eye care to date. The team of volunteers is generally made up of 25 to 30 people: ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, doctors, nurses, logisticians and other stakeholders. For information on our past one-time projects, click here.
Sharing knowledge is a value promoted by IRIS Mundial and many efforts are invested in offering continuing education to local professionals in the field of vision. Usually, these training missions are dedicated to employees of IRIS Mundial permanent programs (Haiti and Senegal). However, it is not excluded to organize training missions for vision professionals from developing countries in other contexts.
Optometrists and opticians
Usually, this involves training or improving the knowledge of the employees of our permanent programs (mainly nurses) regarding primary eye care: basic visual screening techniques, the theory of the anatomy of the eye and refractive errors, major eye diseases, simple refractive techniques, simple prescriptions and fitting of glasses, management of eye emergencies, etc. The goal is to enable them to improve the quality of screening and care offered to patients throughout the year.
Empowering and sustaining eye care services in developing countries are very important aspects for IRIS Mundial. It is with this in mind that organizational capacity building support missions are carried out mainly within our permanent programs. The purpose of this type of mission is: to observe the work of the team and the progress of activities in the clinic and in mobile clinics, to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the program and to make a diagnosis on the financial, administrative, logistical level and at the human resources level, to find solutions to finally identify several recommendations for improvement and help their implementation.
IRIS Mundial always favors its volunteers first involved in Quebec to participate in missions abroad. In fact, almost all the time, the organization manages to meet its needs for international mandates through its bank of members or volunteers, which is why we hardly ever call for applications public and open to all. However, there are times when we use external people for very specific needs or rare specializations, but this does not happen frequently. In other words, if you would ever like to participate in an international mission with IRIS Mundial, a good way to be selected is to get involved first and foremost in Quebec!
N.B. Please note that vision professionals from all optical banners are welcome to join the IRIS Mundial family!
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