#IDW2019: Fighting chronic malnutrition in Guatemala

Chronic Malnutrition Action Against Hunger

Photo: Marily starts her trek to work at the health clinic. Photo by Lys Arango for Action Against Hunger Guatemala.

In Chiquimula, Guatemala, Action Against Hunger is working hard to prevent and treat chronic malnutrition.
Guatemala has the highest rate of chronic malnutrition in Latin America. 48% of Guatemalan children suffer from chronic malnutrition, reaching rates as high as 80% in areas like Chiquimula Department.

Action Against Hunger relies on the support of local health workers like Marily Vázquez Lucero to help treat malnourished children.

Marily, seven months pregnant, is a 23-year-old nursing assistant. She starts her daily trek to work at dawn. She lugs a small cooler of vaccines up impossible slopes until a passing driver gives her a lift to the health centre, a shed where she serves the indigenous Maya Chortí population.

Photo: Marily climbs on the back of a pick-up truck to get to the health clinic. Photo by Lys Arango for Action Against Hunger Guatemala.

She’s particularly concerned about chronic malnutrition. “It’s so sad to see the devastating effects of malnutrition on children’s development, especially the intellectual, learning and productive capacity of new generations,” says Marily.

But she adds, with hope: “This is why collaboration between the Government and Action Against Hunger is so important, to guide nutrition strategies for the most vulnerable.”

Photo: Marily at the health clinic in Chiquimula. Photo by Lys Arango for Action Against Hunger Guatemala.

Thanks to Canada’s support, Action Against Hunger is implementing the Systems Enhancement for Transformative Health project. This project aims to reduce child malnutrition and mortality in Guatemala through promotion of local feeding and care practices, nutritious food and supplements.

We are working with our partners, thanks to support received from the Government of Canada, and most importantly the communities in Chiquimula to increase families’ access to nutritious food and supplements and improve access to health and nutrition services.

Thanks to Canada’s ongoing leadership in the area of maternal and child health, Action Against Hunger will ensure that more Guatemalan children get the nutrition they need. With your support, we can ensure lasting change in areas hardest hit by malnutrition by training community members like Marily.