Cranleigh Rotary at Zambian High Commission

James Phiri at Zambian High Commission

On 28 September 2016, three members of Cranleigh Rotary attended an exclusive event to support the Virtual Doctors charity, held at Zambia House, by courtesy of Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Muyeba Chikonde .

His Excellency Mr Kena Mphonda and the former UK Minister for State for Overseas Development and Africa, Baroness Lynda Chalker, were also present at the event.

The three VIPs enjoyed an informal buffet dinner, joining the Virtual Doctors' supporters, staff and volunteers, and sharing their achievements and challenges. 

In giving a vote of thanks, Baroness Chalker commended the work of the charity and encouraged others to support its cause, emphasising the benefits of regular giving which she said “helps the charity to plan ahead”. 

Presentations were given by Huw Jones (Exec Director), James Phiri (Charity Ambassador and a member of Cranleigh Rotary Club), Fran Fieldhouse (Medical Director) and Ian Kerr (Chairman). 

An added bonus was the offer of support from His Excellency Mr Kena Mphonda to host a further event at the Malawian High Commission in November, with the aim to expand the service into Malawi.

Virtual Doctors logo

The Virtual Doctors Group provides sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, telemedicine software and smartphones with internet access. This enables health workers to send electronic patient files to volunteer doctors in the UK for diagnosis and treatment advice, thus helping to save lives. 

Their vision is to expand into more and more clinics, and to offer advice to Clinical Officers who may have to otherwise refer their patients on to a hospital. This could involve long, tedious and sometimes painful walks to the hospital, and then back to the clinic some days later to get help. Moreover, some critically ill patients die on their way to hospital due to a lack of ambulances and suitable roads in some rural areas.

Zambia has a population of about 16 million people but has only around 1,500 fully trained clinicians. According to the World Health Organisation, a manageable doctor-patient ratio is 1 doctor per 5,000 patients, but Zambia has only 1 doctor per 11,000 patients.

Further information can be found at:

Photo caption: Cranleigh Rotarian James Phiri (right), a Charity Ambassador for Virtual Doctors, with the Zambian High Commissioner and Baroness Lynda Chalker.