Approximately 90 babies per month between the ages of 6 months and 36 months and their mothers in Llano del Pinal, Buena Vista, and La Victoria participate in the Nutrition Program. A total of 162 babies participated at some point during 2015. Pop Wuj provides monthly education, height and weight checks, nutrition consults, and various nutritional supplements. Pop Wuj staff and volunteers review the child’s growth and provide a fortified peanut butter product for the child to consume every day. Most of the fortified peanut butter products are produced by Edesia, a Rhode Island based non-profit that works to treat and prevent malnutrition in the world’s most vulnerable populations. Pop Wuj also provides pre-natal vitamins for the mothers and children’s vitamins for all other children under 13 years of age in the family.
The Pop Wuj Nutrition Program faced a number of challenges in 2016 and as such, the program and budget have been revised to reflect the increased needs in the rural communities of Llanos del Pinal, Buena Vista, and La Victoria. The most significant increased expenses include the salary of a pediatrician to direct the program and medications and specialist treatment for the malnourished babies and toddlers. The babies and toddlers are vulnerable to digestive and respiratory illnesses. They are especially vulnerable due to conditions of extreme poverty and their precarious living conditions.
Pop Wuj received some medicine donations, but the demand for zinc, iron, probiotics, acetaminophen, metronidazole, and cough syrup is very high. In addition to the common illnesses in Guatemala, there has also been an increase in illnesses that are harder to diagnose and treat. In 2016 Pop Wuj spent additional funds on expensive specialist consults and treatments.
The funds provided by Foundation Todos Juntos will support medical care and health education. Profits from the Pop Wuj Spanish Language School and a grant from Timmy Global Health also fund the Pop Wuj Nutrition Program.