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Awaiting news


Diagnosing and treating a complex condition doesn't just affect the patient. 

With no state safety net in Zambia, illness or injury can impact a whole family's wellbeing.

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Awaiting news


Diagnosing and treating a complex condition doesn't just affect the patient. 

With no state safety net in Zambia, illness or injury can impact a whole family's wellbeing.

the Virtual doctors

the aim

To help improve the local primary healthcare in some of the most remote and impoverished areas of Africa.

These are places where people regularly walk or cycle long distances to their nearest clinic or referral hospital, and even then often receive inadequate treatment or diagnosis due to the centre being under-resourced.

 

the service

The Virtual Doctors is a unique service.

Our simple telemedicine software, designed with rural Africa in mind, connects remote healthcare workers, called Clinical Officers, with a panel of medical experts who give diagnosis and treatment advice.

As a result, patients are diagnosed more quickly and more often treated in their communities.

 

the software

The Virtual Doctors service provides rural health centres with a tablet computer, camera, microscope and the telemedicine software.

When a patient with a complex or unusual condition presents, the Clinical Officer creates a patient file with examination notes and photos and uploads it to the cloud. A doctor in the UK then reviews the file and offers diagnostic and treatment advice. 

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The story


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The story


The beginnings

In 1998 British safari guide Huw Jones was driving through the remote Zambian bush when he suddenly came upon a trail of sticky blood on the dusty road.

After following the trail for several miles, Huw caught up with a heavily pregnant woman slumped on a bicycle as her husband pedalled frantically in the relentless heat to get her to the nearest hospital, some 60km away.

Despite Huw's efforts, after such huge loss of blood, the woman and her unborn baby died in the jeep on the way; but the concept for the Virtual Doctor service, which would use the internet to save lives in rural Africa, was born.

the milestones

2007 Development of first concept of mobile clinics 

2011 Initial trial of telemedicine concept in Kafue District, using one Virtual Doctor in New York and satellite communications 

2013 Pilot project, using 20 Virtual Doctors and the mobile broadband network, launched in six rural health centres with the Ministry of Health, Zambia

2015 Development of bespoke telemedicine software and planned implementation into National Training College, Chainama. Expansion to more rural health centres in Zambia

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The team


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The team


CORE STAFF

HUW JONES

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Huw has over 20 years’ experience working in Africa. He was a professional safari guide for many years, and subsequently worked in rural development and education e-learning development. He also consulted for the UN in Maastricht and for local government in Norfolk, UK. Huw holds a MSc in Environment and International Development from the University of East Anglia.

Huw has over 20 years’ experience working in Africa. He was a professional safari guide for many years, and subsequently worked in rural development and education e-learning development. He also consulted for the UN in Maastricht and for local government in Norfolk, UK.

Huw holds a MSc in Environment and International Development from the University of East Anglia.

OLIVIA BELL 

zambia COORDINATOR

ZOE MARLOW

UK OPERations

Olivia has been providing on-ground backstopping for the Virtual Doctors since June 2014. She works closely with the Clinical Officers at the Rural Health Centres to provide general project coordination, as well as carrying out the Monitoring and Evaluation programme. Olivia holds a Masters of Public Health in Global Health Systems and Development from Tulane University, New Orleans.  

Olivia has been providing on-ground backstopping for the Virtual Doctors since June 2014. She works closely with the Clinical Officers at the Rural Health Centres to provide general project coordination, as well as carrying out the Monitoring and Evaluation programme.

Olivia holds a Masters of Public Health in Global Health Systems and Development from Tulane University, New Orleans.

 

Zoe’s first job was in Senegal and she has worked on and off  in West Africa ever since. At the Virtual Doctors she supports Huw with planning, strategy, communications and administration. Zoe holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Charity Marketing and Fundraising from Cass Business School, London.

Zoe’s first job was in Senegal and she has worked on and off  in West Africa ever since. At the Virtual Doctors she supports Huw with planning, strategy, communications and administration.

Zoe holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Charity Marketing and Fundraising from Cass Business School, London.

TRUSTEES

David dutton

David has been a hands on business angel in a number of small company start-ups, alongside working as an Executive Director for the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), a major UK media company and several of its subsidiaries. David studied at the University of Cambridge (BA Economics) and Harvard University (MBA summa cum laude).

David has been a hands on business angel in a number of small company start-ups, alongside working as an Executive Director for the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), a major UK media company and several of its subsidiaries.

David studied at the University of Cambridge (BA Economics) and Harvard University (MBA summa cum laude).

ian clarke

Ian has 30 years’ experience in the IT industry and is currently Chief Technology Officer for dmgi::land&property Europe, part of Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT). Ian studied at the University of Manchester (Physics and Electronics).

Ian has 30 years’ experience in the IT industry and is currently Chief Technology Officer for dmgi::land&property Europe, part of Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT).

Ian studied at the University of Manchester (Physics and Electronics).

rosalyn bird

Ros has 20 years’ experience working in the not for profit sector. A member of both the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Institute of Fundraising, Ros’s particular interests are cross sharing of ideas and good fundraising practice.  Ros previously lived in Kenya.

Ros has 20 years’ experience working in the not for profit sector. A member of both the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Institute of Fundraising, Ros’s particular interests are cross sharing of ideas and good fundraising practice. 

Ros previously lived in Kenya.

Dr mike thompson

Mike has been a doctor for over 25 years.  In the past he has worked in a rural Mission hospital in Zimbabwe and has 15 years’ experience as a UK charity trustee. Mike studied at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Postgraduate Diploma in Tropical Medicine).

Mike has been a doctor for over 25 years.  In the past he has worked in a rural Mission hospital in Zimbabwe and has 15 years’ experience as a UK charity trustee.

Mike studied at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Postgraduate Diploma in Tropical Medicine).

medical advisors

Dr Boniface Fundafunda, MBA, B.Pharm

Dr Fundafunda is Technical Advisor (TA) and Manager of the Drug Supply Budget Line, at the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Zambia. He provides planning, strategy and management advice and support to the public health sector on programmes leading to access to medicines. As a resource on policy and operational system development for public health, Dr Fundafunda has over 20 years of work experience in both the public and private sectors, as well as the UN agencies.

Dr Fran Fieldhouse (Head of Clinical Governance)

Fran qualified as a doctor in 1998. In 2001, following a Diploma in Tropical Medicine from the University of Liverpool, she worked in a hospital in southern Zambia for six months. She has also worked in a refugee camp in Sudan, in Tunisia and as a GP in central London with a large immigrant population.

She currently works as a GP in Oxfordshire, where she also teaches medical students from the University of Oxford and trains junior doctors.

Dr Allan Chisenga MBChB

Dr Chisenga is the District Director of Health for Lundazi District in the Ministry of Health, Eastern Province of Zambia. He also practices clinical medicine at Lundazi District hospital as a Senior Resident Medical Officer (SRMO).

Professor John Jellis OBE, FRCS

Prof Jellis joined the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka in 1970 and retired from the University as Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery in 2000. He helped found the Zambian Italian Orthopaedic Hospital (Leonard Cheshire Foundation) in 1995 and retired from private practice there in 2005. In 1982, he founded the FlySpec Project as an extension service in orthopaedic and reconstructive surgery to remote hospitals in Zambia. 

Stephanie Sterling M.D, M.P.H.K

Dr Sterling is a Clinical Assistant Professor at New York University School of Medicine and a Physician at the Concorde Medical Group in New York. She was the primary remote expert during the early project development phase.

 

Can you help the team continue to make a difference to rural Zambia?