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Success! Yonathan from Guatemala raised $512 for life-saving malnutrition treatment.

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

Photo of Yonathan post-operation

September 17, 2016

Yonathan received successful malnutrition treatment.

Yonathan has been growing bigger and taller since he began treatment for malnutrition. Since his mother was very worried about his continued weight loss, we provided him with a small amount of food supplements to stabilize his condition until he our nutritionist could create a custom treatment plan to ensure he would grow and recover. His mother is thrilled with how her son is gaining weight and eating well, and is excited to continue learning about affordable changes she can make to her son’s diet to help him be healthy, and prevent future malnutrition.

“He is gaining weight and height and eating well,” Yonathan’s mother shared. “I am so thankful for the advice and the classes, now my son plays better and does not get sick much.”

Yonathan has been growing bigger and taller since he began treatment for malnutrition. Since his mother was very worried about his continued...

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July 1, 2016

Nine-month-old Yonathan has been losing weight and not growing taller for the past couple of months. This is because he is malnourished, and is not getting the calories, protein, and nutrients he needs to grow. His mother is worried that he is not growing, and has noticed that his appetite has decreased. His energy level has been lower than normal, and he hasn’t wanted to play as much as he used to. In the long term, he could face risks such as decreased IQ, chronic diseases, and subsequent low earning potential if he does not receive treatment.

Yonathan lives with his family in a one-room adobe house in Guatemala. If this story sounds familiar it is because Yonathan’s twin brother, Kenneth, is also a Watsi patient dealing with malnutrition. His father works as a day laborer, harvesting crops such as corn, beans, and squash. His mother works at home taking care of Yonathan and his brother. Together they live on about two dollars per day, making it impossible to afford fruits, vegetables, and eggs for Yonathan and Kenneth.

However, for $512 treatment will be possible for Yonathan. Growth monitoring, micronutrients and food supplementation will help Yonathan recover from malnutrition–saving his life now and putting him on track to live a better life in the future. He will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children his age. His immune system will grow stronger with the increased caloric intake, preventing him from having any life-threatening situations with diarrhea and fevers. 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.

His parents will receive the support they need to feel empowered to give Yonathan the diet he needs to grow and develop healthily. Intervention now will prevent the future devastating effects of malnutrition, and give Yonathan 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.

“I am worried because my son is not eating like he should,” explains Yonathan’s mother. “I am interested to know what I have to give him to improve his diet.”

Nine-month-old Yonathan has been losing weight and not growing taller for the past couple of months. This is because he is malnourished, and...

Read more

Yonathan's Timeline

  • July 1, 2016

    Yonathan was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq, our medical partner in Guatemala.

  • July 11, 2016

    Yonathan received treatment at Clinic Panajachel. 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.

  • August 03, 2016

    Yonathan's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • August 07, 2016

    Yonathan's treatment was fully funded.

  • September 17, 2016

    Yonathan's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 15 donors

Funded by 15 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.

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63% funded

$351to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.