At a recent meeting, members of SI Winchester heard from Ros Bird of Virtual Doctors about how the charity is helping doctors and health professionals to improve healthcare in Zambia. The charity, which was started ten years ago, links health professionals in Zambia with GPs and medical specialists in the UK to provide support via e mail using mobile phone technology. They now have 45 volunteer doctors in the UK supporting 31 sites in Zambia with a catchment area of 560,000 people. The UK doctors provide free advice and support to the local healthcare staff on diagnosis, treatment and prescribing of suitable medication for specific patients on request.
One in ten children in Zambia will not reach the age of five and 14% of the population is HIV positive so there are serious health issues for all sections of the community. A particular problem is that it is a very rural population and hospitals are often distant and transport is poor. The charity plans to increase its reach to 100 sites by 2018 and is exploring the possibility of extending its work to Malawi and Tanzania.
Julie Blackwell with Ros Bird of Virtual Doctors