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Success! Marlin from Guatemala raised $512 for malnutrition treatment.

  • $512 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Marlin's treatment was fully funded on October 11, 2016.

Photo of Marlin post-operation

April 10, 2017

Marlin has been successfully treated for malnutrition.

We are pleased to share that Marlin is gaining weight and growing taller!

With continued treatment, we are confident that Marlin will grow up healthy and strong.

Marlin’s mother says, “I am grateful for the advice I have been given. I am better educated now about my daughter’s dietary needs and I am seeing more positive changes in her.”

We are pleased to share that Marlin is gaining weight and growing taller! With continued treatment, we are confident that Marlin will gr...

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August 19, 2016

Even though Marlin is almost 6 months old, she is the size of an average three-month-old. This is because she is suffering from malnutrition, which prevents her from growing and developing normally. In addition to stunted growth, her immune system is weak from the lack of protein, calories, and nutrients in her diet, making a normal cold or cough much more dangerous for her than a healthy child. If left untreated, the effects of malnutrition could could stick with her for the rest of her life–such as increased risk of chronic diseases, low IQ, and a higher likelihood of dropping out of school.

Marlin lives with her parents and two older siblings in a one-room house made of wood with a tin roof in Guatemala. Her mother works taking care of Marlin and her siblings, cooking, and cleaning. Her father works as a day laborer, only making a couple dollars per day. Although they want the best for her, they cannot afford to give her even one piece of fruit, vegetable, or egg per day–making it impossible for her to overcome her malnutrition without treatment.

Growth monitoring, micronutrients and food supplementation will help Marlin recover from malnutrition. She will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children her age. Her immune system will grow stronger with the increased caloric intake. This will further increase her appetite and help her use the extra calories to develop mentally instead of those calories being wasted on getting over frequent bouts of diarrhea.

Her parents will receive the support they need to feel empowered to give Marlin the diet she needs to grow and develop healthily, even with their limited resources. Intervention now will prevent the future devastating effects of malnutrition, and give Marlin 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 her sick in the first place.

Even though Marlin is almost 6 months old, she is the size of an average three-month-old. This is because she is suffering from malnutrition...

Read more

Marlin's Timeline

  • August 19, 2016

    Marlin was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • August 24, 2016

    Marlin 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 9, 2016

    Marlin's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 11, 2016

    Marlin's treatment was fully funded.

  • April 10, 2017

    Marlin's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 14 donors

Funded by 14 donors

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