Beatriz is four months old, and is the only child to her two young parents in Guatemala. She lives with her parents and her maternal grandparents in a house made of wood with a tin roof. Her mother works taking care of Beatriz, and her father searches for wood in the nearby forest, which he then chops up to sell to others in the market. Although both of them work hard to give Beatriz the best they can, they do not make enough money to buy formula–they typically make only $2-$3 per day, just enough to buy basic food and water.
Beatriz has fallen into acute malnutrition due to her mother’s lack of breast milk. Her mother has been trying to improve her production by taking herbs and other supplements, but they have not given her enough milk to help Beatriz grow. Her mother has tried to help her daughter to stop crying by giving her sugar water to calm her down. Being fed sugar water instead of formula has weakened her immune system, making her get sick often, and putting her at risk of starvation and seizures due to the lack of calories and electrolytes.
Although Beatriz is dangerously sick, treatment is simple. By supplying Beatrix with formula and the mother with health education, she will finally receive the calories she needs to grow and thrive. One-on-one education with her mother will prepare Beatriz for when she needs to start eating solid food, as well as help her mother watch for further signs of malnutrition and other illness. Beatriz’s immune system will strengthen and she will grow up to be a healthy energetic baby, and her risk of seizure, starvation and death will be greatly reduced.
Her mother says, “I want my daughter to grow. She is small now, but I know she wants to grow.”