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Julio from Guatemala raised $512 for malnutrition treatment.

  • $512 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Julio's treatment was fully funded on October 14, 2016.

Photo of Julio post-operation

January 12, 2017

Julio received successful malnutrition treatment.

Since beginning treatment, Julio has been growing taller and gaining weight. He now enjoys dancing, and he is learning to talk.

“I’m grateful for this program,” says Julio’s mother. “Before, I did not have formula or mother’s milk to give my son, but now, with the support you’ve given, my son is growing well.”

Since beginning treatment, Julio has been growing taller and gaining weight. He now enjoys dancing, and he is learning to talk. "I'm gra...

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August 19, 2016

Julio is the only child in his family, and “the light of his parents’ life,” shares his medical team. He lives with his family a one-room cinderblock house in Guatemala. His father works as a day laborer in a plantation near their village, and his mother works at home taking care of him, as well as cooking and cleaning.

Although his parents want nothing but the best for their son, with only a couple dollars per day to live on, they cannot afford to give him even one egg, fruit, or vegetable per day—the minimum he needs to gain weight and grow taller like he should.

Julio is suffering from malnutrition. This is because his mother cannot produce adequate breastmilk to keep her son healthy. She has tried taking herbs and other natural medicines to help increase her milk production, but it has not been working. Lactation failure can lead to the child becoming starving, dehydrated, and provoke electrolyte imbalances that can cause seizures. Brain development occurring during this delicate time is compromised and the baby is at risk of long term deficiencies.

Lactation failure, while dangerous, is easy to treat. By supplying the baby with formula and the mother with health education, Julio will receive the calories he needs to grow and thrive. One-on-one education with Julio’s mother will prepare her for when he needs to start eating solid food, as well as help her watch for further signs of malnutrition and other illness. Julio’s immune system will strengthen and he will grow up to be a healthy energetic baby.

“I would like to see my son be an engineer when he is big,” Julio’s mother shares.

Julio is the only child in his family, and "the light of his parents’ life," shares his medical team. He lives with his family a one-room ci...

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Julio's Timeline

  • August 19, 2016

    Julio was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • August 19, 2016

    Julio 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.

  • September 9, 2016

    Julio's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 14, 2016

    Julio's treatment was fully funded.

  • January 12, 2017

    We received an update on Julio. Read the update.

Funded by 15 donors

Funded by 15 donors

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

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.