Doctor to run Oxfordshire Way for charity training of African doctors

DEDICATED doctor trades stethoscope for running shoes to raise funds to train doctors abroad.

Fran Fieldhouse, who is a general practitioner at Abingdon Surgery, plans to travel the 67 miles of the Oxfordshire Way over two weekends in April and May. The money she raises will go to Virtual Doctors, a charity that provides specialist advice remotely to healthcare workers in rural Africa.

She said: “I chose this particular challenge because I love to run and it acts as a metaphor for the distance some people have to travel for treatment.

“In rural Africa, patients often travel miles to their local health center.

“Once there, the healthcare worker may not have the knowledge or skills to treat their condition, requiring continuous trips to an even more distant hospital. ”

The mother-of-two has been involved with the charity for four years and has produced podcasts to give advice on topics such as how to spot pneumonia.

Explaining her desire to get involved, she said: “I worked in Zambia about 16 years ago. I really enjoyed what I was doing, but realized that I was just a stopgap and that I would like to get involved in some way in educating the local people.

“There’s a lot of ‘brain drain’ in these countries, so it’s about training those who are there.”

The 45-year-old proved her dedication to her challenge last week, braving recent snowfall to complete a 13-mile training run through the Oxfordshire countryside.

The West Oxford GP said: “I didn’t realize how bad it was until I went to drink my energy drink and realized it was frozen.

“On the positive side, every race since has been easy in comparison. ”

She has already raised almost £ 1,000 which was her original goal in just one week and said the goal is now to reach £ 5,000.

She said: “Because it is such a small charity, I know exactly how much this money is going to help and I am very grateful to everyone who has already supported me. It will make a huge difference. ”

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