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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 April 13, 2016.

Photo of Melany post-operation

September 8, 2016

Melany received successful treatment for acute malnutrition.

Melany has been improving steadily since she began treatment for malnutrition. She has been gaining weight and growing taller, and has nearly reached a normal size for her age. Her immune system has grown stronger with the healthy diet, and she is now getting sick much less often than before, giving her more energy to play, learn to walk, and develop mentally.

Now that Melany’s mother has learned the best ways to prevent malnutrition and provide Melany with a healthy and nutritious diet with limited resources, we are confident that Melany will go on to live a healthy and full life.

“We really appreciate the support,” Melany’s mother shared. “My daughter is growing and eating better now than ever.”

Melany has been improving steadily since she began treatment for malnutrition. She has been gaining weight and growing taller, and has nearl...

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March 17, 2016

This is Melany. She is 14 months old, and lives in Guatemala with her mother. She loves to play with her little dolls.

Melany is malnourished. Our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), explains, “Her height and weight are nearly three standard deviations below normal, meaning her poor diet has prevented her from growing. She gets sick often because her diet has made her immune system unable to fight off germs.”

Melany’s mother is raising her by herself. She has no support at home, and as a result, has to take Melany with her to work. Her mother washes clothes for a living, and carries Melany on her back as she goes from house to house. Her limited income does not allow for foods like eggs, vegetables and fruits.

Luckily, we can help Melany and her mother out. For $512, Melany can receive adequate treatment to get back on track. WK explains, “Melany will receive food supplementation, growth monitoring, micronutrients, and deworming medication will help overcome malnutrition. Her mother will receive nutrition education to learn about how she can give Melany what she needs to get well. The extra calories will allow her to grow, strengthening her immune system and allowing her to develop mentally and physically like a normal child. Her body will finally be able to use her energy to develop instead of fighting off frequent illnesses.”

Melany’s mother shares, “I am so happy with this program. Now my daughter will get the life she deserves.”

This is Melany. She is 14 months old, and lives in Guatemala with her mother. She loves to play with her little dolls. Melany is malnouri...

Read more

Melany's Timeline

  • March 17, 2016

    Melany was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • March 17, 2016

    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.

  • April 11, 2016

    Melany's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • April 13, 2016

    Melany's treatment was fully funded.

  • September 8, 2016

    Melany's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 8 donors

Funded by 8 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.