Our Chair of Trustees, Ian Kerr, and Executive Director, Huw Jones, have just returned from a very eventful trip to Zambia. It was the first time they travelled there together and Ian’s first visit as the Chairman of the Virtual Doctors’ Board of Trustees.
Most importantly they attented a stakeholder meeting with Ministry of Health (MoH) Directors in Lusaka and key partners. On the agenda was an update of the Virtual Doctor service developments to date and to determine the way forward for the expansion of the service imbedded into the Zambian National Health Service. Ian and Huw presented to the MoH Chief Executive, Dr Peter Mwaba as well as the Directors of all MoH departments and other key stakeholders including the Zambian Medical Association (ZMA) and the Health Practitioners Council of Zambia (HPCZ).
We are still awaiting the full outcome of deliberations but the MoH have re-affirmed their support of the Virtual Doctors and will work closely with us to ensure the service is rolled out to more Districts and Provinces in Zambia in the coming months. This will only be possible through the generosity of our donors and supporters of course.
Ian and Huw met with a number of other potential stakeholder and partners and interviewed for the new Virtual Doctors Country manager. The name of the successfully shortlisted candidate, who is a Zambian National, will be announced shortly.
Anniversary celebration for Independence Day
Did you know October 24th wasZambia’s Independence Day? On the 24th October 1964, Northern Rhodesia peacefully gained independence from the United Kingdom to become the Republic of Zambia. Our best wishes to all who celebrated this event.
Running to Raise funds
When she is not busy fundraising, one of our trustees, Ros Bird, is running – on 23 October, she completed the Great South Run in 1.38.30. She set herself the modest target of £200, a symbolic amount for us at the Virtual Doctors: it is the sum required to equip one remotely based clinical officer in a rural health clinic in Zambia with what he or she needs to access the Virtual Doctors telemedicine service for a whole year. Thanks to the generosity of colleagues, friends and family and with gift aid, she has exceeded that but it’s not too late to help – how many more clinical officers can we equip for a year with your help, dear readers? Go to Ros’s JustGiving page to find out more!
Anyone can raise sponsorship through local events – if you think you would like to try, get in touch by emailing Enquiries@virtualdoctors.org
New additions to our team
Lina Woehrling, our brand new Business Executive Assistant, has been with us in our small Shoreham Airport admin office since the beginning of the month and she will be working on Mondays and Wednesdays. Lina says “Apart from getting used to the noise of helicopters and private jets, I’ve been getting to know the moving parts of all aspects of the Virtual Doctors’ operations in order to support Huw in his daily tasks. After years of running virtual events in the corporate world I’m going to enjoy being back in the charity sector and working for a worthy cause such as the Virtual Doctors”.
During October we have also added two more volunteer Doctors to our growing list of medical professionals standing by to answer cases.
Rotary Racing Post
Our thanks go to all those who organised and supported the Rotary Club of Cranleigh’s Race Night on 21st October. This first Race Night was well attended and great fun was had by all concerned, raising over £1000 for charity. Thank you again to Mike Ellis and James Phiri in particular for making it happen. We look forward to the next Race Night!
If you are interested in volunteering in the not for profit sector – see this FREE course run by the Open University that gives a great introduction.
The Virtual Doctors is currently set up in 22 sites
20 rural health centres and 2 hospitals
Covering a population catchment area of 1 million people
Our Medical Director, Dr Fran Fieldhouse, reports on a recent case from a Rural Health Centre in Lusaka Province:
“I recently had a case of a young male patient, with newly diagnosed HIV and syphilis. He presented in a terrible state, very thin and with weeping sores all over his body. Working together with the Clinical Officer, a treatment plan of HIV medication and antibiotics was commenced. He is now well, and his skin has healed.”
Hot off the Press: Zambian High Commission event
Last night (28th Sept) we held an exclusive event, by courtesy of His Excellency Mr Muyeba Chikonde, at the High Commission for Zambia in London. As well as H.E Mr Chikonde, our guests of honour were the former UK Minister for State for Overseas Development and Africa, Baroness Lynda Chalker and the High Commissioner for Malawi in the UK, His Excellency Mr Kena Mphonda. The three VIPs enjoyed an informal buffet dinner joining the Virtual Doctors supporters, staff and volunteers where we shared achievements and challenges.
In giving a vote of thanks Baroness Chalker commended the work of the charity and encouraged others to support our cause, emphasising the benefits of regular giving which she said “helps the charity to plan ahead”. Presentations were given by Huw Jones (Exec Director), James Phiri (Charity Ambassador), Fran Fieldhouse (Medical Director) and Ian Kerr (Chairman). An added bonus was the offer of support from His Excellency Mr Kena Mphondato host a further event at the Malawian High Commission in November with the aim to expand the service into Malawi.
Our 2015 Report and Accounts were presented at our Annual General Meeting on 27th September and are now available. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive a copy. This can be emailed or posted. At the AGM we also held some workshops involving some supporters to help with our business planning, ensuring that at all times we remain transparent and accountable.
Our Expanding Team
Since our last newsletter we extend a warm welcome to new volunteers:
Gavin Marsh as our new Honorary Treasurer and Trustee who will be advising the Board on all things financial.
Also from 3 October we are delighted to announce that Lina Woehrling will be joining the staff team as a part time Executive Business Assistant in our Shoreham Administrative office. More news about Lina and how she is settling in next months newsletter!
We also welcome 4 Virtual Doctor medical professional volunteers to our medical team!
Cranleigh Rotary are Racing!
Members of Cranleigh Rotary have chosen the Virtual Doctors as one of their nominated international charities this year and will be holding a race night in Cranleigh on 21st October to raise funds. The going will be good- if you fancy the odds it would be great to see you there – email email@example.com for tickets and more information.
On behalf of all those who benefit from our service, we would like to say an ongoing thank you to all of our supporters, volunteers and donors.