Meet another patient

Watsi logo blueWatsi

Success! Melany from Guatemala raised $512 to treat acute malnutrition.

  • $512 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Melany's treatment was fully funded on January 7, 2016.

Photo of Melany post-operation

March 23, 2016

Melany received treatment for acute malnutrition.

“Melany was severely underweight and having frequent bouts of diarrhea before receiving treatment,” our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq explains. “Now, not only is she gaining weight and growing taller, but she has been getting sick much less frequently. This means that her body can now invest energy into growing and developing instead of getting over frequent illness, which will allow her to catch up on the developmental delays she’s missed out on–such as learning to sit and stand. Her mother is happy that she is eating more now. With continued treatment, we are confident that Melany will continue to gain weight and will live a successful and healthy life.”

During a recent home visit from WK, Melany’s mother shared: “Now that I know what foods to give Melany I have seen so many good changes. She eats much more now, and now will even eat solid foods.”

"Melany was severely underweight and having frequent bouts of diarrhea before receiving treatment," our medical partner, Wuqu' Kawoq explain...

Read more
December 22, 2015

Meet Melany, a 10-month-old baby girl from Guatemala. Melany is an only child. Her mother stays home to manage the home while her father is a coffee worker and sells wood.

Our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), tells us that Melany was born from a complicated pregnancy and with low birth weight. Melany has been diagnosed with acute malnutrition. WK informs us, “Melany spent her first month of life in an incubator and fed formula and then was returned to her mother at 4 weeks of age to go home.”

Melany’s condition can be fixed with access to appropriate treatment. Treatment includes, “growth monitoring, supplementation, and medication for her to make a full recovery,” shares WK. “Without intervention she will face the long-term effects of malnutrition and be at risk for other acute illnesses.” Treatment will cost a total of $512, which includes nutritional education for Melany’s mother.

Melany’s mother shares, “I will do whatever it takes for my daughter.”

Meet Melany, a 10-month-old baby girl from Guatemala. Melany is an only child. Her mother stays home to manage the home while her father is ...

Read more

Melany's Timeline

  • December 22, 2015

    Melany was submitted by Katia Cnop, Watsi Account Volunteer at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • December 23, 2015

    Melany received treatment at Clinic Panajachel in Guatemala. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • January 4, 2016

    Melany's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • January 7, 2016

    Melany's treatment was fully funded.

  • March 23, 2016

    Melany's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 12 donors

Funded by 12 donors

Acute Malnutrition
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

Children generally face stunted physical growth, delayed mental and motor development, low appetite, and frequent illness. Malnourished children have weakened immune systems that put them at risk of diarrhea, fevers, and respiratory illnesses. This treatment treats growth failure in small children usually under 2 years of age. The most common form of growth failure in children in Guatemala is called stunting. This is a form of malnutrition where weight is relatively normal but height is severely reduced.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

Stunting has major effects on the developing brain. Stunted children have low IQ and they don’t make major developmental milestones. These effects persist into adulthood, where they impact schooling and economic potential. Furthermore, stunting contributes to the development of serious adult illness like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

Indigenous Guatemalans are one of the most marginalized and vulnerable populations in the world. They live in rural areas and suffer from high rates of food insecurity. The poorest indigenous Guatemalan villages have the highest rates of stunting in the world.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

Children enrolled in our recuperative nutrition program receive about 1-4 months of intensive intervention, depending on the severity of the case. All of this care is delivered in the home in a personalized fashion. Most require a basic laboratory evaluation to look for thyroid disease, anemia, and intestinal infections. Acute infections are rapidly treated with antibiotics. Then a specialized case manager and nutritionist make weekly or every other week educational and health monitoring visits to the home. An assessment of food insecurity is conducted using standardized instruments and food is often provided to help bolster acute recovery. Micronutrient supplementation is provided.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

This treatment saves brains. Appetite and growth and developmental milestones recover, and height begins to rise once again. The immediate outcome is improved overall child health, including reduced vulnerability to severe infections. The long term outlook is improved cognitive potential, school completion, and economic prospects. Nearly 100% of children will experience improve appetite, energy, and development. At least 75% of children will have noticeable improvement in growth parameters. The effects of the intervention extend to other children in the home; since the approach is highly educational, parents learn how to care for other children and prevent this from occurring subsequently.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This condition is treatable, and no risks for treatment exists.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

Treatment for malnutrition is incredibly inaccessible in Guatemala. Populations are rural and don’t have access to intensive nutritional intervention and education. Public sector approaches are too low intensity to make a difference for these children.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

There are no real alternatives to our program. Many organizations and governmental entities provide basic preventative care, but once a child is already malnourished these approaches are no longer effective. Most children fail prevention and therefore need our help.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.