ROTARY ROUND-UP: Worthing Rotary fundraiser for Virtual Doctors charity

Virtual Doctors provides vital healthcare to poeple in Zambia
Virtual Doctors provides vital healthcare to poeple in Zambia

This week, Kim Woodley, from the Rotary Club of Worthing, gives an update on the latest and future goings-on.

Last week, despite the rain, members of Worthing Rotary Club, friends and supporters attended a very successful Garden Party with a two course buffet supper, bar, raffle and tombola.

An amazing £1,116 was raised for the innovative Virtual Doctors charity.

This great charity is providing a vital service to the people of Zambia.

The Virtual Doctors is a unique project.

Its simple system, designed with rural Africa in mind, connects remote healthcare workers in Zambia with a panel of medical experts who give diagnosis and treatment advice.

As a result, patients are diagnosed more quickly and more often treated in their own communities.

Edward Tembo, clinical officer, said: “Overseas doctors ask everything and their responses are packed with a lot of information. The Virtual Doctors has changed the way I work, because I can invite questions from anyone and so the doctors trust me to treat patients the same way they would treat them.”

In Zambia there are only 1,600 doctors for a population of over 14 million, and two thirds of these doctors live in urban areas, but two thirds of the population live in rural Zambia.

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

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

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

As a result, one in nine children will not reach the age of 5 – a shocking number in today’s world.

The Virtual Doctors project provides rural health centres with a tablet computer, camera, microscope and access to telemedicine software.

When a patient with a complex or unusual condition presents, the clinical officer creates a patient file with examination notes and photos and uploads it to the cloud.

A doctor in the UK, typically a specialist in that area, then reviews the file and offers diagnostic and treatment advice.

The Virtual Doctors service is endorsed by the Ministry of Health in Zambia.

It complements the existing clinical and administrative systems in Zambia and references the national Standard Treatment Guidelines and Essential Medicines List.

For further information look at the website: http://www.virtualdoctors.org

To join Rotarians in making a difference to the lives of others, both locally and internationally, have a look at our website, call us or come along to one of our Monday lunchtime meetings.

Details of Worthing’s three Rotary clubs are:

• Worthing Rotary Club meets Monday, 12.55pm, at the Chatsworth Hotel, in The Steyne, Worthing, 01903 262222.

• West Worthing Rotary Club meets Tuesday evening at Tudor Close, Ferring, 01903 535900.

• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets Monday evening at The Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 01903 234957.

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