Meet Melvin, a one-year-old from Guatemala. Our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), shares, “Melvin is the youngest of four children (the oldest is five years old), and lives with his mother and grandmother.” WK adds, “Melvin likes to play with his sister Petrona, and when his mom is busy around the house she has noticed that they enjoy pushing a plastic ball back and forth and using empty cans to make music.”
Melvin is acutely malnourished, as his height and weight are far below the average for children his age. “Although he currently does not suffer from any one illness, his immune system is weak and his mother reports that she is worried that without help his health will continue to decline.” Untreated, Melvin risks many of the effects of malnutrition, from delayed development to chronic illness that could affect his schooling and job opportunities.
When Melvin’s mother noticed her son was not well, she visited a local health center but was turned away. According to WK, “Melvin’s father was kicked out of their house recently, so now his mother is trying to support herself, her mother, and her four children alone,” WK explains. Given this situation, “Melvin’s mother has to work twice as hard to care for him and her other children, but worries constantly that it will not be enough.”
Melvin’s mother is now seeking assistance from WK’s recuperative nutrition program, which lasts one to four months and provides intensive intervention in the home. With $535 in Watsi funding, Melvin will undergo this treatment and be provided with antibiotics, micronutrient supplementation, food, and a nutritionist who will make weekly visits to monitor Melvin’s health and educate his mother.
“This treatment will give Melvin’s mother the education and support she needs to help Melvin avoid the permanent effects of malnutrition,” WK explains. He will be able to strengthen his immune system and reach his full physical and mental potential.
Melvin’s mother remarks, “I want to fight for my children, I want to raise them to be successful people.”