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VIRTUAL DOCTORS


The Virtual Doctors provides sophisticated, yet easy to use bespoke telemedicine (technology & medicine) software and smartphones with internet access. 

This enables health workers in rural Zambia to send electronic patient files to volunteer doctors in the UK for diagnosis and treatment advice, helping to save lives. Read more...

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VIRTUAL DOCTORS


The Virtual Doctors provides sophisticated, yet easy to use bespoke telemedicine (technology & medicine) software and smartphones with internet access. 

This enables health workers in rural Zambia to send electronic patient files to volunteer doctors in the UK for diagnosis and treatment advice, helping to save lives. Read more...

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 technology and medicine or 'telemedicine' software, designed with rural Zambia in mind, connects remote health care workers, called Clinical Officers, with a panel of volunteer doctors who give diagnosis and treatment advice on complex cases.

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 smartphone loaded with our bespoke 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 Fizzbook computers, launched in six rural health centres in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Zambia

2015 Development of bespoke telemedicine software, specifically designed for rural Zambia, and the use of smartphones

2016 Expansion of service in Zambia and pilot in Tanzania

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The team


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The team


CORE STAFF

HUW JONES

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Huw has over 25 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 is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and holds an MSc in Environment and International Development from the University of East Anglia.

Huw has over 25 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 is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and holds an MSc in Environment and International Development from the University of East Anglia.

ZOE marlow

executive asst.

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.

ian kerr

chair of trustees

Ian co-founded international development charity ActionAid in the early 1970s. He has since worked extensively in the charity sector and started one of the UK’s leading fundraising consultancies. Until recently, he worked with a charity in Nepal which rescues and cares for trafficked children.

Ian co-founded international development charity ActionAid in the early 1970s. He has since worked extensively in the charity sector and started one of the UK’s leading fundraising consultancies.

Until recently, he worked with a charity in Nepal which rescues and cares for trafficked children.

TRUSTEES

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.

IAN CLARKE

Ian has 30 years’ experience in the IT industry and is currently Chief Technology Officer for dmgi::land&property Europe. 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.

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

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 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 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).

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).

senior advisors

DR B. FUNDAFUNDA

ZAMBIA TRUSTEe

Dr Boniface Fundafunda, Managing Director at Medical Stores Limited, provides guidance to the charity, particularly on engagement with the Ministry of Health.  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 Boniface Fundafunda, Managing Director at Medical Stores Limited, provides guidance to the charity, particularly on engagement with the Ministry of Health. 

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.

muyunda munyinda

zambia trustee

Muyunda is Enterprise Director at Airtel Zambia. He has many years of experience, largely in the private sector, in industries including corporate banking, energy, mining, transportation and FMCG.  Muyunda studied at the University of Zambia (BA Economics) and the University of Cape Town (MBA).    

Muyunda is Enterprise Director at Airtel Zambia. He has many years of experience, largely in the private sector, in industries including corporate banking, energy, mining, transportation and FMCG. 

Muyunda studied at the University of Zambia (BA Economics) and the University of Cape Town (MBA).    

 

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

dr fran fieldhouse

medical director

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. @franvirtualdocs

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.

@franvirtualdocs

JAMES PHIRI

ZAMBIA AMBASSADOR

James is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and has held a number of senior finance roles in FTSE multinationals.  He is a member of the Rotary Club of Cranleigh and supports The Other Side Foundation Community School for orphans and vulnerable children in Matero, Lusaka, helping to establish a mentoring and reading project. James studied at City University London (Management and Systems Science) holds an MBA..

James is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and has held a number of senior finance roles in FTSE multinationals. 

He is a member of the Rotary Club of Cranleigh and supports The Other Side Foundation Community School for orphans and vulnerable children in Matero, Lusaka, helping to establish a mentoring and reading project.

James studied at City University London (Management and Systems Science) holds an MBA..