19-month-old Cristian lives with his family in rural Guatemala. His mother is a single parent who works a lot, so Cristian’s grandmother usually takes care of him. His mother works very hard, but does not earn enough to give Cristian the healthy, nutritious food he needs. He has been diagnosed with malnutrition. Unfortunately, Cristian’s family does not have the economic resources to treat his malnutrition without outside help.
In the short term, malnutrition means Cristian has little energy to grow and that his immune system is weak, leaving him vulnerable to illness that further compromises his growth. If Cristian does not receive treatment, he will also face malnutrition’s long-term consequences, such as increased risk of chronic diseases, low IQ, and higher likelihood of dropping out of school.
While malnutrition can have devastating effects, it is also very treatable. Growth monitoring, micronutrients, and food supplementation will help Cristian recover. He will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children his age, and his immune system will grow stronger with the increased caloric intake. Community health workers will teach his mother about creating a nutrient-rich diet with limited resources. Treatment will give Cristian’s family tools to maintain nutritious diets, and it will give Cristian a chance to grow healthy. This treatment costs $437.
“My grandson is the most lovely thing I have, and I want to him to get better,” shares Cristian’s grandmother.