Local online doctor charity in global top 100

A Shoreham-based charity which helps African doctors had been named as one of the world's top 100 '˜tech for good' causes.

The Nominet Trust has named telemedicine charity The Virtual Doctors in the 2016 NT100 – the 100 most inspiring social innovations using digital technology to drive change around the world.

The Virtual Doctors provides a free telemedicine service, utilizing mobile phone and internet technology, directly into rural and remote areas of Africa.

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Using bespoke software delivered through hand-held devices the medical professionals in remote clinics in Africa are connected to volunteer doctors in the UK and can seek advice to aid diagnosis and learning. As a result patients are treated on site and not referred to distant hospitals which can involve long and uncomfortable journeys, often on foot.

The service is currently delivered in 20 rural health centres and two district hospitals in Zambia with plans to expand to at least two other countries in Africa in 2017.

The service was developed by The Virtual Doctor’s founder and executive director Huw Jones. A safari guide in the eighties and nineties, Mr Jones said he witnessed a local tragedy and felt helpless to deal with it.

He knew if earlier medical intervention had been available the life of a mother and her unborn baby would have been saved. After talking to medical professionals in Africa and Europe who were willing to help but could not work in rural Africa, the concept for this telemedicine initiative was born and in 2008 The Virtual Doctors was launched.

Huw said: “We are delighted to be recognised by such a prominent platform as NT100 and it’s to be part of the social tech 100 family this year. The whole Virtual Doctors team are tech heroes – those who fund our work, our supporters and hardworking volunteers and those who have helped in its development.”

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