A Brighton charity which enables doctors in Britain to help sick patients abroad has set up an urgent Covid-19 Response Fund.
The Virtual Doctors, based at the Sussex Innovation Centre in Falmer, is taking the fight against the global pandemic online.
Using a smartphone app, volunteer NHS doctors offer advice to isolated health centres in rural Zambia.
UK medics help diagnose conditions, treat patients and prescribe medicine.
Now the charity is warning that urgent help is needed to tackle the coronavirus outbreak in Zambia.
Virtual Doctors founder and executive director Huw Jones said: “We can play a key role in supporting the Ministry of Health’s response to this unprecedented crisis.
“We are perfectly positioned to recognise urgent needs and provide immediate assistance. We have a critical time to diminish the impact of the virus.”
The telemedicine and e-learning techniques used by the Virtual Doctors team support social distancing by circulating knowledge remotely.
This cuts down on unnecessary referrals to distant and overworked hospitals.
The current focus in Zambia is on water sanitation and hygiene as well as simple diagnostic and education projects.
Working with the Ministry of Health to further prevent the spread of the virus, the Virtual Doctors team aims to raise the funds needed to further equip 140 isolated health centres for three months.
The charity’s chairman Graham Precey said: “Since 2010, we have been working with the Zambian Ministry of Health and more recently in Malawi.
“We need to work quickly and efficiently using our proven technology to fight Covid-19.
“We hope many people will join us by contributing to our fund, set up with an initial £10,000 from our board.”
To make a donation, go to https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/12801#!/DonationDetails or https://www.virtualdoctors.org/donate/#donate.
Cheques can also be sent, made payable to the Virtual Doctors, to the Virtual Doctors, Sussex Innovation Centre, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9SB.
Suggested donations include
- £30 for an information pack about spreading the disease
- £100 for equipment to help diagnose the illness
- £110 for a water sanitation and hygiene pack for one month.
This includes a foot operated wash basin, hand soap, surface disinfectant, continuous spray bottle, cleaning rags and 10 reusable face masks.
To spread the message and share on social media, use the #cleanwaterforclinics hashtag.
The Virtual Doctors is a charity helping rural health workers in Africa to connect to doctors and medical specialists in the UK who respond with diagnosis and treatment advice, helping to save lives.
It provides sophisticated yet easy-to-use telemedicine software and state of the art technology.
The charity has three clear aims
- help reduce unnecessary mortality and morbidity by allowing rural health workers to treat more patients on-site
- reduce unnecessary referrals to distant and hard-to-reach hospitals
- improve the skills and knowledge of rural health workers
The Virtual Doctors relies 100 per cent on charitable donations to support its work.