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Success! Melany from Guatemala raised $512 to fund malnutrition treatment.

  • $512 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Melany's treatment was fully funded on February 21, 2017.

Photo of Melany post-operation

February 22, 2017

Melany received successful malnutrition treatment.

Since starting malnutrition treatment, Melany has been growing bigger and healthier. Melany’s mother reports that her daughter now loves to play with her younger brother and their favorite teddy bear. She also shares that Melany’s favorite food is papaya. As Melany continues treatment for malnutrition, our medical partner is confident that she will continue to flourish.

Melany’s mother says, “I am so grateful for the support being given to my daughter so that she can overcome malnutrition and get healthier.”

Since starting malnutrition treatment, Melany has been growing bigger and healthier. Melany’s mother reports that her daughter now loves to ...

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October 27, 2016

Melany is an 11-month-old girl from Guatemala. She is underweight and small for her age. Melany has malnutrition, a dangerous condition that results from consuming too little protein, calories, and nutrients. In the short term, malnutrition means Melany has little energy to grow. Her immune system is weak, leaving her vulnerable to illnesses that further compromise her growth. She may also face malnutrition’s long-term consequences, such as increased risk of chronic diseases, low IQ, and higher likelihood of dropping out of school.

Melany began malnutrition treatment on October 28, 2016.

Melany lives with her family in an adobe home with a tin roof. Her father works as a day laborer, and her mother cooks, cleans, and takes care of her children. While Melany’s parents want the best for their daughter, their resources are already stretched thin. They cannot afford to pay for Melany’s $512 treatment.

While malnutrition can have devastating effects, it is also very treatable. Growth monitoring, micronutrients and food supplementation will help Melany recover. She will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children her age, and her immune system will grow stronger with the increased caloric intake. Community health workers will teach her mother about creating a nutrient-rich diet from limited resources. Treatment will give Melany’s family tools to maintain nutritious diets, and it will give Melany a chance to grow healthily. Treatment will give her an opportunity to play and grow, supported by a healthy brain and body.

Melany is an 11-month-old girl from Guatemala. She is underweight and small for her age. Melany has malnutrition, a dangerous condition that...

Read more

Melany's Timeline

  • October 27, 2016

    Melany was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • October 27, 2016

    Melany received treatment at Clinic Tecpán 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.

  • November 16, 2016

    Melany's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • February 21, 2017

    Melany's treatment was fully funded.

  • February 22, 2017

    Melany's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 12 donors

Funded by 12 donors

Acute Malnutrition
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $512 for Melany'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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100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.