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Success! Maritza from Guatemala raised $512 to treat acute malnutrition.

  • $512 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Maritza's treatment was fully funded on June 15, 2016.

Photo of Maritza post-operation

January 11, 2017

Maritza received treatment for acute malnutrition.

Maritza has been steadily growing since receiving treatment. She has been eating better and receiving more nutrients. Her mother has been taking nutrition classes from community health workers.

“Before, nobody told me how height and weight affect my daughter’s health,” says Maritza’s mother, “but now I am happy my little girl is growing well.”

Maritza has been steadily growing since receiving treatment. She has been eating better and receiving more nutrients. Her mother has been ta...

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May 30, 2016

“I dream that my little girl will one day be a great teacher,” shares the mother of 11-month-old Maritza.

Maritza is currently living with malnutrition. She is dangerously underweight because her parents cannot afford to give her the protein, calories, and nutrients that she needs to be healthy. She gets sick often because her immune system does not have the fuel it needs to fight off germs, making her body use all her energy on getting over sicknesses rather than growing and developing. If she does not receive treatment now, Maritza could face long-term consequences including mental deficiencies, chronic diseases, and lower earning potential as an adult.

Maritza is the only child to two loving parents. She lives with them in a cinderblock house with a tin roof in a rural mountainous community in Guatemala. Her father works in a small store, selling snacks, and her mother works at home taking care of Maritza, cooking, and cleaning. Although they both work hard and want the best for their daughter, they cannot afford to give the diet she needs to overcome malnutrition.

$512 of growth monitoring, micronutrient and food supplementation, and deworming medication will help Maritza recover from malnutrition. The support provided from the doctors at our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq, will save her life and put her on track to live a better life in the future. She will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children her age. Her immune system will grow stronger with increased caloric intake, preventing her from having any more life-threatening situations with diarrhea, fevers, and coughs. This will further increase her appetite and help her use the extra calories to develop mentally instead of those calories being wasted on getting over frequent illnesses.

Her parents will receive the support they need to feel empowered to give Maritza the diet she needs to grow and develop healthily. Intervention now will prevent the future devastating effects of malnutrition, and give Maritza the chance to live a healthy and productive life, finish school, get a good job, and escape the cycle of malnutrition and poverty that made her sick in the first place.

"I dream that my little girl will one day be a great teacher," shares the mother of 11-month-old Maritza. Maritza is currently living wit...

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Maritza's Timeline

  • March 16, 0006

    Maritza 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.

  • May 30, 2016

    Maritza was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • June 13, 2016

    Maritza's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • June 15, 2016

    Maritza's treatment was fully funded.

  • January 11, 2017

    Maritza's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 12 donors

Funded by 12 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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100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.