Leonel’s Battle with Chronic Malnutrition

According to UNICEF numbers from 2019, nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 are attributable to undernutrition; undernutrition puts children at greater risk of dying from common infections, increases the frequency and severity of such infections, and delays recovery.

Leonel was almost a part of this statistic.

Six months ago, Leonel celebrated his first birthday with his family in Bolivia. It was also the first time his parents noticed something horribly wrong…

He had no appetite and began looking very sullen and grey. A quick visit to the local health post discovered that Leonel was suffering from chronic malnutrition. This condition is diagnosed in roughly 16% of all children in Bolivia under the age of five.

At the health post, Leonel and his family were referred to Esperanza Bolivia and their Child Protection program, which provides support to parents via health education training and routine assessments of the development and nutritional status of children.

With newfound education on how to ensure her son is getting the proper vitamins and sustenance in his meals, Leonel’s mother shares that his weight and height is improving and that she will continue to visit the care center monthly for checkups.

Leonel's recovery is mainly due to a dramatic change in his diet, stimulation and monthly assessments of his nutritional status. Thanks to Esperanza Bolivia, he is now receiving treatment with zinc and other nutritional supplements. 

“Now, Leonel is quite active. He likes to run, play and imitate everything I do” his mother says with a laugh. "Getting guidance from health staff on how to improve my child's nutrition has been key to his recovery. I learned the importance of healthy eating and regular checkups of size and weight to prevent malnutrition of our little ones."  

He is just one of four hundred children under the age of five to be treated by Esperanza Bolivia. 

On average, it takes Esperanza Bolivia just $210 per year to care for a child with malnutrition. Just $210 can save a life. Your contributions keep children around the world healthy and safe. Make a contribution today.

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