Effective Partnerships in Pediatric Community Health


One of the greatest satisfactions is knowing that systems we have put in place to help catch ill children early and help them out right away are working! As one example of this, Estevan’s story is a great one. Estevan was born with cleft lip and palate. In Guatemala, this is generally a problem right away, because children with cleft lip/palate often have trouble feeding at the breast, because they can’t suck well due to the facial defect. This often leads to very severe nutritional problems within the first few weeks of life. There is a simple solution – providing bottles and supplemental formula, as well as education to families on how to feed children with this problem.

In the case of Estevan, our health workers immediately received a call from Estevan’s mother after his birth. We were able to immediately provide the family with a breast pump, bottles, and supplemental milk formula, as well as intensive growth monitoring. As a result, Estevan thrived, despite his cleft lip/palate. Then, a few months later, we were able to work with our partners, including Watsi and the Moore Center for Surgery, to coordinate the surgical repair. The family is very happy and, most importantly, Estevan is healthy!

Photo credit: Rob Tinworth http://robtinworth.zenfolio.com/guatemala/