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Success! Belinda from Guatemala raised $512 for malnutrition treatment.

  • $512 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Belinda's treatment was fully funded on October 11, 2016.

Photo of Belinda post-operation

January 12, 2017

Belinda received successful malnutrition treatment.

Belinda has been growing taller and gaining weight since she started to receive treatment. Her mother says that she has more energy and that she no longer gets sick, meaning that her immune system is growing stronger.

“Belinda is growing well,” says her mother. “I am so content. With what I have learned in the nutrition classes, and the advice that I have gotten, I am serving my daughter more food and I can see the change in her. She does not get sick much and she plays happily with her toys.”

Belinda has been growing taller and gaining weight since she started to receive treatment. Her mother says that she has more energy and that...

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August 15, 2016

“We dream that our daughter grows well, has good development so she can be a good student and have a good profession as a teacher,” shares the mother of six-month-old Belinda.

Belinda is the first child born to two loving parents in Guatemala. She loves to play with her cousins and mom, and she smiles when people play music. Belinda’s father works as a farmer and her mother works at home, cooking and cleaning for the family. Although they both only want the best for her, they do not make enough money to provide her even with one egg, fruit, or vegetable per day - meaning they cannot afford the diet she requires to overcome malnutrition.

Due to malnourishment, Belinda is far too small for her age. She has not had access to an adequate diet, and has been deprived of the protein, calories, and nutrients that she needs to grow normally. This lack of calories has left her immune system weak, meaning she is more susceptible to getting fevers, coughs, and diarrhea, all of which are life-threatening to malnourished children.

In the past two weeks alone, Belinda has suffered from a severe cold and cough, which takes away her appetite and energy. Belinda’s mom is worried because she has noticed that she isn’t growing as well as the other kids in the neighborhood. In the future, Belinda could be at risk of stunted neurodevelopment, a low IQ, difficulty focusing, and a greater risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes - all of which make it less likely she could finish school and get a good job.

Growth monitoring, micronutrients, food supplementation, and deworming medication will help Belinda gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children her age. This treatment will be done by doctors at Wuqu’ Kawoq, Watsi’s medical partner. Immediate treatment will have a large impact—she will likely be able to reach developmental milestones just like healthy kids her age, setting her up for a healthy and full life.

This treatment, which costs $512 to complete, will strengthen Belinda’s immune system, increase her overall caloric intake, and make it so she has more energy to play and learn. Her parents will receive the support to give their daughter the diet she needs to grow and develop; they will receive intense and motivational nutrition classes to learn what, when, and how to feed Belinda the best diet possible on a budget. This will help Belinda start to develop better both physically and mentally, giving her the chance to live a healthy and productive life.

"We dream that our daughter grows well, has good development so she can be a good student and have a good profession as a teacher," shares t...

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Belinda's Timeline

  • August 15, 2016

    Belinda was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq, our medical partner in Guatemala.

  • August 17, 2016

    Belinda received treatment at Clinic Panajachel. 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.

  • September 09, 2016

    Belinda's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 11, 2016

    Belinda's treatment was fully funded.

  • January 12, 2017

    Belinda's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 5 donors

Funded by 5 donors

Acute Malnutrition
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $512 for Belinda'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?

Children generally face stunted physical growth, delayed mental and motor development, low appetite, and frequent illness. Malnourished children have weakened immune systems that put them at risk of diarrhea, fevers, and respiratory illnesses. This treatment treats growth failure in small children usually under 2 years of age. The most common form of growth failure in children in Guatemala is called stunting. This is a form of malnutrition where weight is relatively normal but height is severely reduced.

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

Stunting has major effects on the developing brain. Stunted children have low IQ and they don’t make major developmental milestones. These effects persist into adulthood, where they impact schooling and economic potential. Furthermore, stunting contributes to the development of serious adult illness like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

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

Indigenous Guatemalans are one of the most marginalized and vulnerable populations in the world. They live in rural areas and suffer from high rates of food insecurity. The poorest indigenous Guatemalan villages have the highest rates of stunting in the world.

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

What does the treatment process look like?

Children enrolled in our recuperative nutrition program receive about 1-4 months of intensive intervention, depending on the severity of the case. All of this care is delivered in the home in a personalized fashion. Most require a basic laboratory evaluation to look for thyroid disease, anemia, and intestinal infections. Acute infections are rapidly treated with antibiotics. Then a specialized case manager and nutritionist make weekly or every other week educational and health monitoring visits to the home. An assessment of food insecurity is conducted using standardized instruments and food is often provided to help bolster acute recovery. Micronutrient supplementation is provided.

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

This treatment saves brains. Appetite and growth and developmental milestones recover, and height begins to rise once again. The immediate outcome is improved overall child health, including reduced vulnerability to severe infections. The long term outlook is improved cognitive potential, school completion, and economic prospects. Nearly 100% of children will experience improve appetite, energy, and development. At least 75% of children will have noticeable improvement in growth parameters. The effects of the intervention extend to other children in the home; since the approach is highly educational, parents learn how to care for other children and prevent this from occurring subsequently.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This condition is treatable, and no risks for treatment exists.

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

Treatment for malnutrition is incredibly inaccessible in Guatemala. Populations are rural and don’t have access to intensive nutritional intervention and education. Public sector approaches are too low intensity to make a difference for these children.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

There are no real alternatives to our program. Many organizations and governmental entities provide basic preventative care, but once a child is already malnourished these approaches are no longer effective. Most children fail prevention and therefore need our help.

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Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.