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Success! Melisa from Guatemala raised $512 to treat malnutrition.

  • $512 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Melisa's treatment was fully funded on February 1, 2016.

Photo of Melisa post-operation

March 28, 2016

Melisa received successful treatment for malnutrition.

“Melisa has been improving since starting treatment–she has gotten taller and gained weight,” reports her doctor at Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK). “Even though she got diarrhea a couple weeks ago, our medical team provided her with the treatment she needed to get well, and she has already gained back all of the weight–and more–that she lost while sick.”

“Her mother says that she is now playing for longer periods of time and more high-energy activities,” continues WK. “With continued treatment, she will continue to get better and it will give her the opportunity to have a healthy and successful life.”

“She looks stronger now, and has almost not gotten sick at all,” shares Melisa’s mother. “I am very appreciative to see that Melisa’s development is improving little by little.”

"Melisa has been improving since starting treatment--she has gotten taller and gained weight," reports her doctor at Wuqu' Kawoq (WK). "Even...

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January 20, 2016

Though she doesn’t like to be photographed, Melisa is a happy baby. She loves to play in her baby walker, and is overall a very calm 11-month-old girl. At almost a year old, Melisa’s mother had no idea that her daughter was suffering from malnutrition. After paying a visit to our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq (WK), in Guatemala, her mother was informed that her daughter’s regular fevers were the culprit of a weakened immune system. Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world.

“Melisa is below both the height and weight curve for her age, and if she does not receive attention she will be at risk of the long-term effects of malnutrition,” explains WK. “Her immune system will continue to weaken and she will be at risk for other illnesses and infections. Her brain and body will experience limited development, the effects of which will follow her into adulthood.”

Melisa’s family is working hard to support the health of their growing daughter. Her mother works to embroider textiles and her father is a coffee farmer. Still, they are short of funding medical needs for their daughter.

With $512, Melisa will receive treatment that includes growth monitoring, micronutrient and food supplementation, and medication to help recoup and get her back on track with normal growth. In addition, her mother will also receive proper nutrition education to prevent the effects of malnutrition throughout Melisa’s childhood.

In advance, her mother expresses her gratitude for the donations that will give her daughter a chance to live a healthy and productive life, “Thank you for wanting to help us. I could never have imagined this.”

Though she doesn't like to be photographed, Melisa is a happy baby. She loves to play in her baby walker, and is overall a very calm 11-mont...

Read more

Melisa's Timeline

  • January 20, 2016

    Melisa was submitted by Katia Cnop, Watsi Account Volunteer at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • January 27, 2016

    Melisa 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.

  • February 1, 2016

    Melisa's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • February 1, 2016

    Melisa's treatment was fully funded.

  • March 28, 2016

    Melisa's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 23 donors

Funded by 23 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.