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Manuel is a four-month-old baby from Guatemala who needs $1,107 to fund nutritional supplementation.

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January 18, 2017

Manuel is a four-month-old baby from Guatemala. His mother is unable to produce sufficient breast milk to nourish him. Lactational failure can lead to starvation and dehydration, and brain development occurring during this delicate time is compromised. Thus, Manuel is at risk of long-term damage.

Manuel’s family members feel blessed to have Manuel in their lives, but they are very worried about his health. His mother cannot afford to buy him the formula that he needs to grow. Fortunately, he will begin nutritional treatment on January 19.

Lactation failure, while dangerous, is easy to treat. By supplying the baby with formula and the mother with health education, Manuel will receive the calories he needs to grow and thrive. Manuel’s immune system will strengthen, and he will grow to be a healthy, energetic baby. Our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq, is requesting $1,107 to fund Manuel’s treatment.

“I hope very much that my son will recuperate from his malnutrition, and I want him to have many opportunities to get ahead,” says Manuel’s mother.

Manuel is a four-month-old baby from Guatemala. His mother is unable to produce sufficient breast milk to nourish him. Lactational failure c...

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Manuel's Timeline

  • January 18, 2017

    Manuel was submitted by Cate Hendren, Complex Care Coordinator at Wuqu’ Kawoq, our medical partner in Guatemala.

  • January 19, 2017

    Manuel was scheduled to receive treatment at Clinic Tecpán.

  • January 24, 2017

    Manuel's profile was published to start raising funds.


    Manuel is currently raising funds for his treatment.

  • TBD

    Awaiting Manuel's treatment update from Wuqu’ Kawoq.

Funded by 14 donors

Funded by 14 donors

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