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Success! Leonardo from Guatemala raised $512 to fund malnutrition treatment.

  • $512 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Leonardo's treatment was fully funded on December 26, 2016.

Photo of Leonardo post-operation

March 8, 2017

Leonardo received successful malnutrition treatment.

Since beginning treatment, Leonardo has gained weight and grown taller. His family reports that they’ve seen many positive changes in Leonardo. Now he is more active, he eats more, and he does not get sick as often. His mother now understands the importance of nutrition and is working hard to provide the best diet possible for Leonardo.

Leonardo’s mother says, “I am doing my best to give my son the best nutrition possible so that his growth can keep improving.”

Since beginning treatment, Leonardo has gained weight and grown taller. His family reports that they've seen many positive changes in Leonar...

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November 22, 2016

Leonardo is a 23-month-old boy from Guatemala. He is frequently ill, and he has not learned many words. His mother is worried because he has not been growing as well as other children.

Leonardo has been diagnosed with acute malnutrition. This means he has little energy to grow, and his immune system is weak and vulnerable to illness. He is also at risk of chronic disease and delayed development. Fortunately, he began malnutrition treatment on November 24, 2016.

Leonardo and his family share a one-room adobe house with a tin roof. They live in a rural mountainous community in Guatemala. Leonardo loves to eat carrots and bananas. His mother works at home, cooking, cleaning, and collecting firewood. His father works as a day laborer on a local plantation. They cannot afford this $512 treatment.

While malnutrition can have devastating effects, it is also very treatable. Growth monitoring, micronutrients, and food supplementation will help Leonardo recover. He will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children his age, and his immune system will grow stronger. Community health workers will teach his mother about creating a nutrient-rich diet from limited resources. Treatment will give Leonardo a chance to grow healthy and strong.

“We are so appreciative of the support, so our son can grow better,” says Leonardo’s mother. “I hope that in the future, he can become a professional and have better opportunities than we did.”

Leonardo is a 23-month-old boy from Guatemala. He is frequently ill, and he has not learned many words. His mother is worried because he has...

Read more

Leonardo's Timeline

  • November 22, 2016

    Leonardo was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • November 24, 2016

    Leonardo received treatment at Clinic Tecpán 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.

  • November 30, 2016

    Leonardo's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • December 26, 2016

    Leonardo's treatment was fully funded.

  • March 8, 2017

    Leonardo's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 16 donors

Funded by 16 donors

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

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.