ROTARY ROUND-UP: Fundraising for Virtual Doctors

Virtual Doctors provides a vital service to the people of Zambia
Virtual Doctors provides a vital service to the people of 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.

We raised £350 for the innovative Virtual Doctors charity, started by local man Huw Jones, which provides a vital service to the people of Zambia.

Virtual Doctors is a unique project which provides rural health centres with a smartphone loaded with their bespoke telemedicine software.

This connects remote health care workers, called Clinical Officers, with a panel of volunteer doctors who give diagnosis and treatment advice on complex cases.

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

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

A doctor in the UK then reviews the file and offers diagnostic and treatment advice.

In Zambia there are only 1,600 doctors for a population of more than 14 million – 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 five – a shocking number in today’s world.

The Virtual Doctors service is endorsed by the Ministry of Health, 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:

Our next event is a quiz night with supper on Tuesday, October 17, 6.30pm for 7pm at the English Martyrs Church hall.

Call Marlene on 07715720363 for tickets at just £10.

This is in aid of Eyesee, another charity run by a local surgeon, who regularly visits travels with colleagues to carry out eye operations on patients in third world countries.

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 209564.

• West Worthing Rotary Club meets Tuesday evening at Tudor Close, Ferring, 01903 501961.

• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets Monday evening at The Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 07788 638757.


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