“I hope that my son can grow and be a good teacher when he’s big,” shares the mother of 19-month-old Jeffry.
Jeffry is the youngest of three children. He lives with his siblings and parents in a one-room adobe house with a tin roof in a rural village in the mountains of Guatemala. He loves to race his toy cars with his older siblings. His father works as an assistant to a bricklayer and his mother takes care of him and his siblings. They often live on less than $2 per day, meaning giving their son even just one piece of fruit, one vegetable, and one egg is out of reach.
Jeffry is suffering from malnutrition because his parents have not been able to afford to provide him with a healthy and varied diet. His lack of protein, calories, and nutrients have made him nearly three standard deviations below the healthy size for his age. His body is weak and unable to fight off sicknesses, meaning he comes down with diarrhea, fever, or a respiratory infection almost every week. His mother is worried since lately he has not had an appetite and hasn’t had the energy to play with his two older siblings. In the long term, Jeffry could have a lower IQ and a greater risk for chronic diseases if he does not receive treatment for his malnutrition.
Growth monitoring, micronutrient and food supplementation will help Jeffry recover from malnutrition - immediately saving his life and putting him on track to live a better life in the future. All of this treatment and medication costs $512. He will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children his age. His immune system will strengthen with the increased caloric intake, preventing him from having any life-threatening situations with diarrhea, fevers, and cough. This will further increase his appetite and help him use the extra calories to develop mentally instead of those calories being wasted on getting over frequent illnesses.
Jeffry’s parents will receive the support they need to give him the proper diet to grow and develop healthily. Intervention now will prevent the future devastating effects of malnutrition, and give Jeffry the chance to live a healthy and productive life, finish school, get a good job, and escape the cycle of malnutrition and poverty that made him sick in the first place.