Worthing man and friend’s battle to stop needless death in Zambia

Virtual Doctors -   Phil Mustard� and Huw Jones with a client in Zambia
Virtual Doctors - Phil Mustard� and Huw Jones with a client in Zambia

IT’S the middle of rural Zambia, and Worthing’s Huw Jones has picked up a trail of blood on the road.

Thinking it is a lion, he tracks it, only to find a man cycling along with his heavily pregnant wife on the handlebars.

The blood is hers.

He picks the couple up and desperately races in his van to the nearest hospital, some 100km away.

Sadly, the woman dies in the back of his van – and all because she could not get medical treatment in her village.

This is not uncommon in Zambia, but fortunately Huw has a plan to stop such tragedies happening.

Huw, 43, alongside friend Paul Mustardé, 42, has set-up a charity called Virtual Doctors, which enables clinicians in the most rural areas of Zambia to connect to a worldwide network of specialist doctors, who can help diagnose a range of ailments.

Huw witnessed unnecessary mortality regularly while working as a safari guide in the country, and teamed-up with Paul to try and tackle the problem.

“There are only 1,000 doctors registered in Zambia, which has a population of 13 million,” Huw explained.

“But half leave the country, and the rest don’t want to work in the rural areas,

“In those remote regions, there are clinics, but the staff cannot diagnose effectively, or treat emergencies.

“So you often get patients treated for a variety of illnesses, which causes issues, or they don’t seek medical attention until it is too late, as they don’t trust the clinics.”

For the full feature, see the Worthing Herald, out Thursday, September 26.