“I hope my son can one day have a college degree,” said Anthony’s mother.
Meet Anthony, a 17-month-old boy from Guatemala. Anthony is currently living with acute malnutrition. His mother is worried because he has been losing weight recently, and she has not been able to help him gain it back.
In addition to weight loss, Anthony’s immune defenses are weak from the lack of calories, causing him frequent bouts of diarrhea. These bouts put his life in danger by making him extremely dehydrated and depriving him of any nutrients that he consumes. If he does not receive treatment, he could face long-term effects such as stunted neuro-development, chronic diseases, and difficulty finding and keeping a well-paying job.
Anthony lives with his parents and siblings in a one-room adobe house with a tin roof. They are indigenous Maya Kaqchikel, and they live in a rural community in the mountains of Guatemala. His mother works at home, taking care of Anthony and his siblings, and his father is currently unemployed. Both his parents make many sacrifices for Anthony’s health, but they cannot afford to give him even one egg, fruit, or vegetable per day, making it impossible for him to overcome malnutrition without Watsi support.
Anthony’s family seeks financial assistance for a $512 treatment program that includes growth monitoring, micronutrient and food supplementation, and deworming medication. These measures will help Anthony recover from malnutrition–saving his life now and putting him on track to live a better life in the future.
With successful treatment, Anthony 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.
In addition to Anthony’s own treatment, his parents will receive the support they need to feel empowered to give Anthony the diet he needs to grow and develop healthily. Intervention now will prevent the future devastating effects of malnutrition, giving Anthony 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.