website IMG_0191.jpg
website IMG_0049.jpg


We work in 29 rural health centres and 2 district hospitals

Scroll down for our latest figures...



We work in 29 rural health centres and 2 district hospitals

Scroll down for our latest figures...

primary healthcare in Zambia

too few doctors

There are far too few doctors in Zambia – only 1600 for a population of over 14 million.

Patient at Makeni.jpg

poor treatment 

This means patients are often not properly treated, so their condition deteriorates

doctors in the wrong place 

Two thirds of doctors live in urban areas; two thirds of the population live in rural Zambia.

distant referrals

They then have to walk or cycle for many hours, or even days, to reach a district hospital.  

Under-equipped rural health centres 

Consequently, most rural health centres are under-staffed and under-equipped.


The result:

1 in 9 children will not reach the age of 5*

13.5% of the adult population are HIV+*



* World Health Organisation 2013

telemedicine helps solve these problems

The Zambian Ministry of Health's e-Health Strategy 2013-2016 included telemedicine in its strategic priorities. It accepted the “need to embrace and promote telemedicine… by developing a comprehensive framework, guidelines and operational model on its use.” 

There is also growing academic research into telemedicine. Salatian et al (1) note 'benefits at federal, state and community level...across all political parties, religious dogmas, village councils and tribal and ethnic groups."

Research to prove the value of telemedicine to healthcare workers in rural Kenya compared face to face consultations with submitted telemedicine case files for the same sample of patients. Medical feedback was consistent between the two methods in 78% of cases; and treatment advice was consistent between the two methods in 89% of cases (2).    

1. Salatian, A., Zivkovic, J. and Ademoh, F. (2012) Telemedicine for Rural Sub-Saharan Africa - Benefits and Drawbacks. Allied Academies International Conference, Academy of Health Care Management 9(1), pp. 9-13

2. Qin, R., Dzombak, R., Amin, R. and Mehta, K. (2013) Reliability of a Telemedicine System Designed for Rural Kenya. Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 177- 181


Latest figures - January 2017

As per our Medical Director, Dr Fran Fieldhouse:

"Mike, our GP trustee and I recently conducted a clinical governance review of the Virtual Doctors service. We examined sample cases from each of our 42 volunteers checking the advice was:

·         Clinically correct

·         Written in plain English

·         Appropriate to the resources available

·         Educational

We were delighted by the high quality.

The majority of our volunteers have experience working in resource poor settings so have an understanding of the issues the Clinical Officers face. The feedback from the Clinical Officers confirmed that the Virtual Doctors advice was beneficial.

89% said it helped improve patient symptoms

80% said it prevented a referral to hospital

93% found it educational

Their comments included:

“Am learning a lot from the doctors in the UK. I appreciate the work they are doing. Work becomes much easy. “

“VD very helpful. As the programme does not only benefit the patients but also increases knowledge for the healthy provider. Keep it up VD”

“The Information is very educational. Timing is good. Less than 24 hrs you have the answers.”

It’s fantastic to know the volunteers are doing such great work. Thank you."



website IMG_0191.jpg

The Clinical Officers

The Clinical Officers

mercy, makeni RHC (below)

“The Virtual Doctors has changed the way I work.

I can treat patients here in the clinic saving them time, transport costs and the stress of being away from their family.”



jonathan, chongwe hospital

“The Virtual Doctors ask everything and their responses are packed with a lot of information.

Now I can invite questions from anyone and so the local doctors trust me to treat patients the same way they would treat them.”


eleazar, kanakantapa RHC

"My name is Eleazar and I am the Clinical Officer at Kanakantapa Rural Health Centre, in the eastern half of Lusaka Province. Before I was posted to Kanakantapa, I worked as a circumcision practitioner at an NGO in Lusaka.

I live within the clinic compound, just a minute’s walk from the office. My working day begins at 8am with a ward round in the in-patient, and sometimes also the postnatal, wards. When I am done on the wards I head over to the screening room to see my outpatients.

Our eight members of staff look after about 14,000 people and on average I see between 50 and 80 patients a day. The clinic is open 24 hours a day and all our patients come on a drop-in basis. I am on duty at least six days a week and often, if need be, the whole week. Patient numbers typically increase during the rainy season because of a rise in malaria and respiratory tract infections.


Kanakantapa is an integrated outpatient and anti-retroviral clinic, which means all patients are seen, without any distinction, by the same team of healthcare providers. Typically my day involves screening, requesting the necessary lab investigations, providing the appropriate treatment and referring my patients if necessary to the next level of care – usually a district hospital.

With only a short break at lunch, the day progresses into the afternoon with more of the same duties. I then hand over the clinical activities to the night nurse.

However, I am on call through the night for any complications, or cases requiring referrals to the next level of care. And when morning comes, the cycle begins again..."

Watch Huw interviewing Eleazar

Common conditions clinical officers treat: malaria, TB, HIV/Aids, maternity complications, animal and snake bites, malnutrition and anaemia.

Subscribe to our newsletter

website IMG_0049.jpg

The clinics

The clinics

chilanga district

  • Makeni RHC
  • Mount Makulu RHC


Siavonga District Health Office.jpg

Luangwa District

  • Luangwa Boma RHC
  • Mandombe RHC
  • Chitope RHC
  • Kasinsa RHC
  • Sinyawagora RHC
  • Luangwa High School RHC

chongwe district

  • Chongwe District Hospital (DH)
  • Kanakantapa RHC
  • Ngwerere RHC

Siavonga district

  • Chaanga RHC
  • Sianyolo RHC
  • Kariba RHC
  • Matua RHC

kafue district

  • Chanyanya RHC 
  • Chiawa RHC
  • Chikupi RHC
  • Chipapa RHC
  • Chisankane RHC
  • Kafue Mission RHC
  • Kafue DH
  • Kambale RHC




kazungula district

  • Kauwe RHC 
  • Kazunghula RHC 1, RHC 2, RHC 3
  • Mambova RHC
  • Nanyati RHC
  • Nyawa RHC
  • Simango RHC