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

  • $512 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Alejandra's treatment was fully funded on October 1, 2016.

Photo of Alejandra post-operation

January 12, 2017

Alejandra received successful malnutrition treatment.

Since beginning treatment, Alejandra has been consistently growing bigger and taller. She has a bigger appetite, and she is not getting sick as often. Alejandra now has the energy to play and learn, boosting her cognitive and motor development.

“I have seen my daughter change since she started treatment,” says Alejandra’s mother. “Before, she didn’t eat anything, and I was scared to give her food because she didn’t like it. But now, with the advice that I have gotten, and the classes I have attended, my daughter is growing well, is crawling, and is playing more with her toys.”

Since beginning treatment, Alejandra has been consistently growing bigger and taller. She has a bigger appetite, and she is not getting sick...

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August 18, 2016

Alejandra, a nine-month-old baby, lives with her parents and her older in a one-room adobe house in Guatemala. Her favorite thing to do is to play with her dolls. Her mother works at home, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of her and her siblings as well as helping Alejandra’s father cultivate corn in the nearby mountains. Although her parents work hard, they do not have the resources to feed her even one vegetable, piece of fruit, or egg—the minimum that she needs to reach a healthy height and weight.

Alejandra’s parents are worried because they have noticed their daughter is not growing as well as the other children in their village, and almost never has an appetite. This is because she is malnourished, and her diet lacks the nutrients, calories, and protein she needs to grow and be healthy. If Alejandra does not receive treatment, she could face the consequences for the rest of her life—such as short stature as an adult, lower IQ, a harder time focusing, and trouble in school–all making it more likely that she will have lower-paying job as an adult and have children who face the same challenges.

For $512, Watsi’s medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq, will provide Alejandra with growth monitoring, food supplements, and deworming medication which will help her grow, develop normally both mentally and physically, and overcome malnutrition. Her parents will receive nutrition education, so they can learn how to best feed Alejandra, even with the little resources they have. If she receives treatment now, she 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.

“We hope that one day, she can have a university degree,” says Alejandra’s mother. With our help, this treatment will give Alejandra a better chance of escaping the cycle of malnutrition and poverty.

Alejandra, a nine-month-old baby, lives with her parents and her older in a one-room adobe house in Guatemala. Her favorite thing to do is t...

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Alejandra's Timeline

  • August 18, 2016

    Alejandra was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • August 18, 2016

    Alejandra 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

    Alejandra's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 1, 2016

    Alejandra's treatment was fully funded.

  • January 12, 2017

    Alejandra's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 12 donors

Funded by 12 donors

Acute Malnutrition
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $512 for Alejandra'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.