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Success! Juan from Guatemala raised $512 for life-saving malnutrition treatment.

  • $512 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Juan's treatment was fully funded on June 23, 2016.

Photo of Juan post-operation

October 17, 2016

Juan was successfully treated for malnutrition.

Juan has been making slow but steady progress gaining weight and growing taller. Growth monitoring, food supplements, vitamins, and deworming medication have given Juan the ability to grow and develop. Juan’s energy levels are up thanks to the high-protein diet he is receiving, and his mother says she has a hard time keeping up with him now! We are hopeful that Juan will continue to improve, putting him on track to live a full and healthy life.

“Our family is appreciative for the support and benefits that our son has received,” Juan’s mother shares, “Before he was not growing because he did not want to eat. But not he eats and he is playing well.”

Juan has been making slow but steady progress gaining weight and growing taller. Growth monitoring, food supplements, vitamins, and dewormin...

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May 31, 2016

Juan is a 20-month-old baby living in Guatemala with his family. He is the second youngest of ten children. He lives with his family in a one-room adobe house in a rural mountainous community. His mother works at home, taking care of Juan and his siblings, and in her free time weaves traditional Mayan textiles. His father is a day laborer, who works harvesting corn, beans, and squash.

Juan’s parents are unable to provide basic sustenance with their income, and he goes days without fruits, vegetables, or eggs. He is far below a normal height and weight, and he has not reached developmental milestones, such as walking and talking. His acute malnutrition has also weakened his immune system, and he has a higher risk for frequent diarrhea, coughs, and fevers.

For $512, Juan can receive the treatment he needs to resolve his malnutrition. His treatment cost covers growth monitoring visits, food supplements, and medication to help him gain weight and develop properly. This treatment will strengthen his immune system, increase his overall caloric intake, and make it so he has more energy to play and learn. His parents will also receive nutritional education to help them optimize the diet he needs.

Following his treatment, Juan should make a full recovery, rebuild his immune system, and return to proper development. With his expected increase in potential for productivity in society, his posterity will also be less likely to develop malnutrition.

Juan is a 20-month-old baby living in Guatemala with his family. He is the second youngest of ten children. He lives with his family in a on...

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Juan's Timeline

  • May 31, 2016

    Juan was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • June 3, 2016

    Juan received treatment at Clinic Panajachel 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.

  • June 19, 2016

    Juan's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • June 23, 2016

    Juan's treatment was fully funded.

  • October 17, 2016

    Juan's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 17 donors

Funded by 17 donors

Acute Malnutrition
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • 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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Michelle is a young child with a sweet smile. She is the firstborn of a two-child family. Her parents are modest farmers who grow potatoes and vegetables primarily for their own family's consumption. Additionally, they run a small kiosk out of their home, but its limited earnings are insufficient to cover their basic needs. Michelle is presently enrolled in nursery school at a nearby public school. Michelle had a normal cold when she visited our medical facility. She was gasping loudly while inhaling and coughing frequently. Since last year, Michelle has been ill. Her mother noticed that whenever she had a cold, she would frequently complain of a sore throat and cough a lot. She also have a hard time sleeping, has trouble breathing, and has difficulty feeding because she always breathes through her mouth. Michelle has to wear extra warm clothing to stay warm during the colder months because her nose always gets congested, which is hard for her. She has been an inactive child as she is always tired. Her sleep patterns are constantly off, and she easily nods asleep during the school day, which has a negative impact on how well she does academically. Due to recurring tonsil infections that are resistant to therapy, Michelle has been in and out of the hospital several times. During her last visit, the doctor examined her and realized that her tonsils and adenoids had hypertrophied. She has been diagnosed with grade three tonsils, and since she was not responding to any medication, the doctor advised them to have surgery, which would provide a lasting, long-term solution to her problem. Michelle's parents have medical insurance, but in the last three months, they did not manage to pay their monthly subscriptions as they were low on income. Their coverage is in arrears, and unfortunately, it will not cover her procedure. She requires $714 for her surgery to be done, and her parents are appealing to all well-wishers reading her story to assist her in getting her surgery. Michelle's mother says, “My daughter has really suffered over a long period of time. She has taken numerous drugs without any noticeable change in her, and this has me very concerned. I want her to be able to have a regular life and do well in school. Please assist her so that she can eventually realize her goals."

45% funded

$386to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.