March Newsletter

First Anniversary of our App’s launch

It has been almost a year since our custom VDrs App was launched at our very first awareness raising event at the Royal Geographic Society. What a milestone! The App has been designed specifically for the needs of clinical officers in sub-Saharan Africa to aid diagnosis and treatment advice for their patients. The technology also offers efficient and flexible reporting for the charity and the highest standards of data protection for patients.

If you follow us on Social Media, look out for our updates to share them with your circles to help us further raise awareness about the Virtual Doctors.

Congratulations to the Virtual Doctors team at Landmark Information Group who developed the already multi award winning software. They were recently honoured again as recipients of the highly commended team award at the DMGT Community Champions awards dinner. Nick Ward, Dave Clark, Paul Ross and Mark Mimer, CEO of Landmark received the award from Fran Sallas head of the DMGT community champions.

Current Challenge in the field

The devices provided to the Clinical Officers (COs) to use our service, require routine maintenance. However, the distances between Clinics and repair centres have proved challenging due the scarcity of available transport. This means that devices taken out of the field can take time to be repaired and returned to the Clinical Officer, who find themselves unable to use our service. Therefore, we require a number of standby devices already set up and ready to deploy as soon as an existing device is taken out for repair. This calls for more funds and as ever, we rely on you, our supporters, to help us with their donations.

On the upside, we are glad to announce that after Siavonga early this year, we have expanded into another new district, Luangwa, a deep rural district on the borders of Zimbabwe and Mozambique close to the Zambezi River. With 6 Rural Health Centres set up, this increases the number of sites we support to a total of 31(29 Rural Health Centres and 2 District Hospitals).


And hot off the press: the Luangwa District Health Director has requested our service for Luangwa District Hospital, which will be set up within the next week.


Zambian High Commission hosts Board Meeting

A meeting of the Board of Trustees was held in the Zambian High Commission in London. The event, held on 2nd March, was kindly made possible by the High Commissioner His Excellency Mr Muyeba Chikonde who attended the post meeting reception with his deputy Mrs Patricia Sikaala Chanda. The casual lunch reception was also attended by volunteers, giving them an opportunity to meet the Trustees as well as other volunteers. Another highlight of the meeting was appointment of two new trustees, James Phiri and Naggib Chakhane, bringing the number of serving trustees to eight.

Zambian News

We’re very happy to announce that Stellah, our Field Assistant in Zambia, has given birth to a baby girl. Born on 1st March, weighing 3.9kg (8lb5oz); she’s been named Fran after our Medical Director. Congratulations Stellah and welcome to the Virtual Doctors family baby Fran.

In other local news in March, Zambia beat Senegal 2-0 in the under-20s Africa Cup of Nations, joining the top four teams at the tournament qualifying for the FIFA U-20 World Cup taking place this May in South Korea.-i




February Newsletter

Already February!

It has been an exciting start of the year for us as the Virtual Doctors have introduced their service to four new sites in Siavonga district in Zambia’s southern province. Phallon and Tyrell have been in Siavonga training clinical officers who will then deliver the service at their rural health centres in Matua, Chaanga, Sianyolo and Kariba.

Some of the Siavonga Clinical Officers getting familiar with the VDrs system

Some of the Siavonga Clinical Officers getting familiar with the VDrs system



Siavonga. on the shores of Lake Kariba, is a popular tourist destination, it’s also a large district stretching inland from the Lake and beyond the holiday resorts are many remote communities that can benefit from the virtual Doctors’ service.

Our people in Zambia

As the sites multiply and our service grows across Zambia, so has the team of people on the ground! In this issue we would like to turn the spotlight on all our collaborators in the field.

Dr Phallon Mwaba has been appointed on a contractual part time basis as our In-Country Lead In Zambia. As well as overseeing Virtual Doctors operations in Zambia he is our link between the Head Office in the UK and the medical hierarchy in Zambia; he will train new Clinical Officers, support existing ones and join forces with Tyrell at the ministry. He is also part of our volunteer team of medical professionals. Dr Mwaba trained as a medical doctor at the University of Zambia’s School of Medicine and then went on to do a master in Global health at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He has experience in clinical work as well as hospital and District level management of primary health care through his work in hospitals as well as through management at District Medical Offices in Slavonga and Kazungula.




Tyrell Junius. an American national who has been living and working in Zambia for the past 3 years, has been very supportive as a general liaison agent on the ground for the Virtual Doctors for about a year now, supporting our Clinical Officers and coordinating our agenda at the Ministry of Health amongst many other tasks.




Stellah Chilembo. is from Lusaka and works as a field assistant in support of Phallon. Stellah is responsible for liaising with the Clinical Officers who use the Virtual Doctors service as well as carrying out patient feedback surveys.





Last but not least: our Zambia office bearers



Dr Boniface Fundafunda, Managing Director at Medical Stores Limited, has over 20 years of work experience ¡n both the public and the private sectors, as well as the UN agencies and provides the Virtual Doctors with guidance. particularly on engagement with the Ministry of Health. I589t




Mr Muyunda Muyinda is Enterprise Director at AirTei Zambia. With his wide-ranging corporate experience, he has been providing precious business advice as well as opening many doors in Zambia to the Virtual Doctors.





Volunteers under the Spotlight

Huge thanks to the people of Lewes Christ Church whose adoption has just come to an end raising a very generous £2160. The Virtual Doctors have now been adopted by The United Church ¡n Dorchester for 2017; many thanks to Joy for making this connection and we look forward to a successful year of fundraising and spreading news of the Virtual Doctors work through these new friends.

If your association is Interested in adopting the Virtual Doctors as their charity please get in touch!

And finally

To make it easier for people to find us on Companies House register, we have renamed our registered name for our incorporated organisational element from Virtual Development UK to the Virtual Doctors Ltd. We will continue to operate the charity as the Virtual Doctors and this name change is for administrative purposes only and does not change the ethos and goals of the organisation and how we undertake our work delivering a complementary telemedicine service





Last newsletter of the year

More Awards!

Congratulations to our Spotlight Award winning volunteer Development Team at Landmark Information Group who have won yet another well-deserved recognition for their support for us. Team representatives accepted the Community Services Award on behalf of their colleagues at the Mortgage Finance Awards event on 15th November.




Even more excitingly, it was announced today 14 December that the Virtual Doctors have been recognised in the 2016 Nominet Trust 100 — a celebration of the world’s most inspiring ventures that use digital technology to drive social change.

The NT100 can be found online at

The same group of judging partners (including: Big Lottery Fund, Cancer Research UK, Comic Relief, Nominet, Oxfam, Telefonica 02 and Society Guardian) recognised our Executive Director, Huw Jones, as an Everyday Tech Hero as an inspiring example of someone, who having experienced a challenge first-hand, has used technology to tackle it.

More details on our website.

Looking back on 2016

What a flourish of a finish to a crucial year in the Virtual Doctors’ history, which saw us roll out our very own custom VDrs app and revolutionise our service model in January, followed by an awareness raising launch at the Royal Geographical Society in London in March.

Thanks to His Excellency Mr Muyeba Chikonde of the Zambia High Commission in London we were able to hold another event at the Zambian High Commission in late September. His Excellency was present at both events which offered us the opportunity to make many new and important friends.

Our team expanded to welcome our Chairman Ian Kerr, Honourary Treasurer Gavin Marsh, Executive Business Assistant Lina Woehrling, and more recently important collaborators in Zambia to be formally announced early next year. We have also been joined by three new Ambassadors, James Phin, Naggib Chakhane and Kate Joynes Burgess and are lucky enough to enjoy the support from other champions” with various skills without whom we could not continue our work. We also have 45 Doctors on our register who are eager to receive cases.

Our service is being delivered in 20 Rural Health Clinics and 2 District Hospitals and our patient follow up reveals that our service is proving effective.

In other team news

Farewell Kate

Kate pictured in the photo with our Executive Director Huw Jones.

Kate pictured in the photo with our Executive Director Huw Jones.



Sadly, we said farewell last month to Kate Murray who was our in-country lead in Zambia.
She made an invaluable contribution in an advisory capacity, helping us with our set up and expansion plans in Zambia. We wish her and her family all the very best for the future with their move back to Canada.





Our Christmas Wish List

Christmas Lights are being turned on around the country and there is just 2 weeks to go before the celebrations begin, If you are shopping online for your gifts then please register with GìveasyouLive and nominate the Virtual Doctors to benefit from your shopping experience1 There are literally 000s of sites that will donate to us as you shop. If you recommend a friend and they raise £5.00 we will get another donation of £5.00 too! Register and remember to switch on the browser button.

An easy and quick way to stay connected with your online contacts is with an e-card. Why not register on the charitecard site, chose the Virtual Doctors to benefit, pick your design and press go. You’ll be raising funds for our work whilst you sent your e-Christmas greetings.

And finally

With Christmas almost upon us, we would take to wish all our kind supporters and donors a very splendid and peaceful end to the year and a happy and successful year ahead in 2017!