Toowoomba nurse and midwife Jeannie Barton is changing lives in the small community of Loanialu on Tanna Island in Vanuatu. Having built a health clinic to support the community in 2013, Jeannie is now fundraising to build a dispensary clinic to aid mothers, children and families in the region. This building will be necessary to birth babies and care for mothers to be, as the health clinic currently has no running water or electricity, as well as no place to accommodate sick individuals, or shelter from volcanic ash.

The Loanialu Health Clinic had been waiting for three years before the Vanuatu Government upgraded its status to a Medical Dispensary in recognition of the nursing care given to the community. “This was exciting news for the Committee as it recognised the significant improvement in the health of these communities and encouraged us to advance the work of The Loanialu Health Clinic,” said Jeannie. The clinic however, needs an appropriate building and facilities to adequately service the health needs of the people from Loanialu region under the Vanuatu Government laws.

“Approximately 30 to 40 people a day visit the makeshift clinic along with the continued health care of 390 children that attend the school,” said Jeannie. The local community is heavily relying on the clinic which has now involved into a bustling centre. To sustain the high standard of health care for the Loanialu community, Jeannie is inviting the public to help in fundraising.

Jeannie has spent most of her life working and helping the patients in the developing nations. “When I was told of the poor condition of the children that attend the Kapalpal School, Loanialu, Vanuatu, in September 2010 my husband, Warren Barton, and I arranged to travel there to see what health programs could be implemented to attend to these concerns,” she said.

The health condition of the children was poor, and they had an endless list of need, including the need for regular bathing, attention to wound care, fevers, numerous skin conditions, infections and burns. “My aim from that point forward was to raise the health standards of that community and to ensure the people of Loanialu could access basic medical attention they so desperately needed,” said Jeanie.

Those interested can donate, and even choose how the donation is spent, online.

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