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Success! Darwin from Guatemala raised $512 for malnutrition treatment and formula.

  • $512 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Darwin's treatment was fully funded on October 5, 2016.

Photo of Darwin post-operation

January 12, 2017

Darwin received successful malnutrition treatment.

Darwin has been getting bigger and taller since he started treatment for malnutrition, putting him closer to reaching a normal height and weight for his age. His mother says that he loves to eat all the beans, eggs, and fortified corn porridge that he receives as part of his treatment. She looks forward to the weekly classes, in which she learns unique recipes. Darwin is not falling ill as often, and he has more energy to play with his toy car.

“We are so appreciative of the support that we have gotten,” says Darwin’s mother, “because before we didn’t even know he was underweight and too short. But now we have seen the change in our son. He is growing well, and he’s getting enough food.”

Darwin has been getting bigger and taller since he started treatment for malnutrition, putting him closer to reaching a normal height and we...

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August 18, 2016

Born in Guatemala, Darwin is the first child to two loving parents. His father works as a day laborer, harvesting crops on large plantations, and wakes up long before dawn to look for firewood to sell, often making little more than a couple dollars per day. His mother works weaving traditional Mayan textiles, which she sells in a local market. Although both his parents work hard, they cannot afford to give him even one egg, vegetable, or fruit per day.

Darwin’s parents did not realize that their son was not growing well. Darwin is around three times below a normal size for his age and suffering from acute malnutrition. This is because the diet his parents can afford for him is mostly corn tortillas, which lacks protein, calories, and nutrients. If he does not receive treatment, the consequences could follow him for the rest of his life–leaving him with a low IQ, trouble focusing in school, and a greater risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension as an adult. All these factors make it less likely he will have a well-paying job as an adult.

$512 will provide Darwin with growth monitoring, food supplements, and deworming medication. All measures will be taken to help him grow, develop both mentally and physically, and overcome malnutrition. Both of his parents are eager to learn how to make simple changes to their son’s diet to help him grow and develop as he should. They will receive nutrition education so they can learn how to best feed Darwin, even with the little resources they have. If he receives treatment now, he will be able to have normal mental and physical development, giving him a better chance to be a successful student and to one day be qualified for a well-paying job.

His mother shares with us, “I want to do everything possible so that my son grow up normally and become a good student in the future.”

Born in Guatemala, Darwin is the first child to two loving parents. His father works as a day laborer, harvesting crops on large plantations...

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Darwin's Timeline

  • August 18, 2016

    Darwin was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • August 19, 2016

    Darwin 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.

  • September 8, 2016

    Darwin's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 5, 2016

    Darwin's treatment was fully funded.

  • January 12, 2017

    Darwin's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 11 donors

Funded by 11 donors

Acute Malnutrition
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $512 for Darwin's treatment
Hospital Fees
Medical Staff
  • 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.

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100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.