“Leonardo’s mother has been worried, because she has noticed that her son is not growing as well as the other kids and doesn’t know what to do. He is suffering from malnutrition, and will not be able to grow until he has access to an adequate diet,” reports our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK).
“His lack of calories has not only stunted his physical growth, but slowed his developmental milestones – he still cannot walk or stand without support, a benchmark most children reach by about age one. Additionally, his immune system has grown weak due to his lack of calories. He gets frequent bouts of diarrhea, putting his life in danger and preventing him from having the energy to grow and play. In the long term, he could face low IQ, chronic diseases, and difficulty finding a good job if he does not receive treatment,” continues WK.
“Leonardo is the youngest of two children. He lives with his family in a one-room adobe house with a tin roof in a rural mountainous community in Guatemala. His mother works at home, taking care of Leonardo and his brother, cooking, and cleaning,” shares WK. “His father works as a bricklayer. Although they both make many sacrifices for him, they are unable to buy him even the most basic healthy foods–they cannot afford even one egg, fruit, or vegetable per day.”
“Growth monitoring, micronutrient and food supplementation, and deworming medication will help Leonardo 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 more 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,” adds WK.
“His parents will receive the support they need to feel empowered to give Leonardo a diet to grow and develop healthily. Intervention now will prevent the future devastating effects of malnutrition, and give Leonardo 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.”
Leonardo’s mother adds, “I want my son to grow and study in the future.” Let’s help make that a reality.