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Success! Milvia from Guatemala raised $1,107 to fund malnutrition treatment.

  • $1,107 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Milvia's treatment was fully funded on December 9, 2016.

Photo of Milvia post-operation

March 7, 2017

Milvia received malnutrition treatment.

Since beginning treatment for lactation failure, Milvia has been growing bigger and stronger. With continued treatment, our medical partner is confident that Milvia will continue to gain weight and grow taller.

Milvia’s parents say, “We are so happy and grateful to the institution and all the people who have helped us provide formula to our daughter.”

Since beginning treatment for lactation failure, Milvia has been growing bigger and stronger. With continued treatment, our medical partner ...

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November 14, 2016

Milvia was born only a week ago–but was premature. Milvia is also a twin–a surprise her parents got when they were born! Unfortunately her and her sister Yolanda are both underweight, and her mother is having trouble producing breastmilk–leaving both babies with dangerous weight loss and failure to grow. Without sufficient breastmilk during this delicate time, Milvia’s brain development could be permanently affected, she could be at risk of seizures because of hormonal imbalances due to her mother giving her sugar water, and if she gets sick now, it could be life-threatening. Milvia and her sister are constantly crying because they are hungry–making her whole family distressed and feeling powerless to help their daughters.

Milvia lives with her 6 brothers and sisters and her parents in a humble home made of adobe with a tin roof. Millie’s mother weaves typical Mayan textiles to make money at home while taking care of her children. Her father works as a day laborer, harvesting crops for long hours. Between the two of them, they bring in only a couple dollars per day for the whole family–nowhere near enough to purchase the life-saving formula she and her sister need.

Despite being dangerous, this condition is incredibly easy to treat. Milvia will be enrolled on November 16 to receive formula and her parents will receive nutritional education, giving Milvia the treatment she needs now to grow big and strong, and giving her family the tools to recognize and prevent future cases of malnutrition.

Her mother said, “I hope that my daughters grow big and healthy without health problems. I want to see my daughters grow to be healthy, intelligent, and in the long term be able to study.”

Milvia was born only a week ago--but was premature. Milvia is also a twin--a surprise her parents got when they were born! Unfortunately her...

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Milvia's Timeline

  • November 14, 2016

    Milvia was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • November 16, 2016

    Milvia 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 18, 2016

    Milvia's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • December 9, 2016

    Milvia's treatment was fully funded.

  • March 7, 2017

    Milvia's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 16 donors

Funded by 16 donors

Lactational Failure
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,107 for Milvia'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?

Babies without access to maternal milk typically lose weight to the point of being acutely malnourished. They are at risk of seizures due to imbalances in their electrolytes, increasing the risk of permanent brain damage. Their immune systems are weak and they are dehydrated, meaning they can easily come down with diarrhea, which is life-threatening for an acutely malnourished baby. Sometimes babies appear chubby and bloated due to being fed sugar water or cow's milk. Babies often cry more than normal due to their chronic hunger.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

For a newborn baby, access to maternal milk is critical. If milk supply is poor, the baby will begin to lose weight. This almost immediately begins to have impact on potential brain development and, if it is not caught quickly and reversed, it can lead to death or permanent brain damage.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

In the United States, substitute milk formulas are readily available and usually fairly inexpensive. However, in Guatemala, milk formula is unbelievably expensive. For example, to provide an adequate amount of milk to a newborn baby can easily cost more on a month to month basis than a poor family makes in total household wages. Therefore, caregivers of these children are caught in an impossible bind, where they couldn’t provide for their children even if they spent every last cent they could get their hands on.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

Caregivers of babies enrolled in this program receive intensive counselling on how to properly prepare and mix infant formula. They receive weekly or every other week check-in to make sure that weight is recovering. They receive 12 months of guaranteed access to infant formula, free of charge. We usually will provide a “final update” about the child long before the 12 month mark, usually after 1-3 months, when it is clear that a full recovery has occurred.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

This treatment saves lives and it saves brains. It prevents babies from dying from dehydration or acute malnutrition. And it promotes normal growth of the brain, guaranteeing that children have a chance to lead normal and highly functional lives at their full potential.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This condition is treatable. Nearly 100% of children will experience major improvements in energy and weight, usually with in the first week. When caught early and properly treated, the poor health consequences of lactational failure can be totally reversed.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

This treatment is not accessible at all in the locations in which we work. It is incredibly expensive (one tin that lasts a week often costs more than a typical monthly household income), meaning families have no way to pay for it. By helping families afford milk formula, we overcome this problem.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

There are no real alternatives to our program. Many organizations and governmental entities will provide small amounts of milk formula, but never in a quantity sufficient to guarantee a thriving child.

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56% funded

$497to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.