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