As a young girl, Josefa dreamed of getting married, having a house and children. In 2007, she married her husband, Domingo. They moved in together with plans to begin the family they had always dreamed of. But while her friends, brothers and sisters began having babies, it didn’t happen for Josefa.
“After we married, we wanted a baby. After a year, nothing had happened. Another year, still nothing... When I saw my brothers and nieces having their children, I didn’t feel good… I felt so anxious... was I going to be a mother, or not? I felt lonely, and desperate.”
Josefa and Domingo began to save their meagre salaries to see a specialist. With Domingo’s job as a labourer, earning $5 a day, and Josefa cleaning houses for even less, it wasn’t long before they simply couldn’t keep up the payments for the expensive private doctor’s visits.
Finally, Josefa heard about ODIM’s clinic in San Pablo, and came for her first consultation.
Dr. Georgina remembers this day. “When I first met Josefa, she was incredibly upset at the idea of never becoming a mother. She complained of pain in her abdomen, so we referred her to a hospital for scans, and we provided low cost treatment including ultrasound scans here at the clinic. We helped Josefa begin a diet and exercise regime, which she and her husband embraced together. We wanted to ensure that Josefa's body was as healthy as possible, ready to carry a baby."
Months later at a follow-up appointment, Dr. Georgina gave Josefa some incredible news – after ten years of hoping, praying and dreaming of this day, Josefa had finally fallen pregnant! Josefa was delighted! But now, she and her baby really need our support.
"Thanks to God, and to this clinic, for my improved health and this pregnancy… I’m so grateful, because it’s been a miracle for us. I found hope here!" - Josefa
Childhood malnutrition in Guatemala
Guatemala has one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world, at 49%. In the majority indigenous region of Sololá, where San Pablo is located, the rate is estimated to be much higher, at 72%. Widespread poverty and lack of access to education contribute greatly to this trend.
When a baby is deprived of vital nutrients during its first 1000 days of development - from conception to its second birthday - the consequences are often severe. Malnutrition inhibits healthy brain development, resulting in cognitive impairment. The effects are also physical - 50% of Guatemalan children under the age of 5 suffer stunted growth as a result of malnutrition. The consequences of childhood malnutrition are also far-reaching. Low levels of educational attainment commonly lead to difficulties accessing skilled employment and drastic losses in earning potential. Individuals who suffer malnutrition as infants are more susceptible to chronic illnesses, which can diminish quality of life.