The Virtual Doctors

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Registered Charity 1129924.

We are a UK-based charity with a Zambian operation and a pilot in Malawi. We use a Smartphone App to connect isolated health centres in rural Zambia with volunteer doctors, based predominantly in the UK.

The volunteer doctors offer advice to diagnose conditions, treat patients and prescribe medicine. This assists and empowers the Zambian health workers, and even helps saves lives. The App also reduces the number of hospital referrals that would incur long, arduous journeys and unmanageable expense.

Our mission statement

Our aim is to help improve the local primary healthcare in some of the most remote and impoverished areas of sub-Saharan Africa. We believe this model could be adopted across Africa, making a significant impact on healthcare throughout the region and beyond.

The Model

Our highly accessible and user-friendly software, in the form of an App loaded onto a Smartphone, links workers in rural clinics to volunteer doctors. We provide training from the outset as well as sustained medical and technical support, education and feedback.

Our Impact

As per March 2021, we have equipped healthcare workers in more than 200 health facilities with the App-loaded Smartphones. More are being set up in a rolling expansion programme funded entirely through the generosity of our supporters.

Our Plans

In Zambia, we are in the process of embedding the Virtual Doctors service into the Zambian Health Care system, with an objective of providing 750 rural healthcare workers with access to medical knowledge that will improve the health of 18,000 people per year by 2025. During this timeframe we will scale back our support, leaving the local authorities to take over the service. Once institutionalised into the health system, we can then take the working model and implement it in other countries in the region, moulding it to meet their telemedicine/ehealth needs.

After successfully completing our pilot project in Malawi we are now preparing to officially expand our service into the country with the full support of its Ministry of Health.

Below: Women and children queuing to attend the weekly under-5s clinic at Ngwerere Rural Health Centre (health facility supported by the Virtual Doctors’ free telemedicine service)

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