Guatemala (MNN) — Malnutrition plays a part in more than half of all child deaths worldwide. Every year, malnutrition is associated with the deaths of five million children under the age of five. That's 16,000 young lives lost every day.
Malnutrition cripples children's growth, renders them susceptible to disease, slows mental and physical development, and diminishes their motivation and productivity. About 167 million children under five years of age (almost one-third of the developing world's children) are malnourished.
Vice President for International Child Care for Orphan's Heart Ron Gunter says Guatemala faces a similar problem. He says poverty creates some of the problem. He says food is just too expensive. However, he says it's not because of the lack of food, but "so much of what they raise in that country is exported for the money. If you look at the rich farmland in that country and you look around at all the potential that's there, it's hard to even imagine why the problem is so severe."
Gunter also says, "The need for vitamins and nutrients and the right types of food is a tremendous need, and that's takes an education."
Orphan's Heart started a Children's Malnutrition Center three years ago that's now helping more than 75 children. "We come alongside nationals already doing the work, and we do everything we can to encourage them and support them. What used to take maybe one to 1 1/2 years to nurse children back to health is now occurring in three to six months."
While the poor economic situation is causing problems for almost all ministry, Gunter says it's been mixed for them.
200 more volunteers have gone to Guatemala to help with their malnutrition center. "But, we have seen a slowdown in the donations that have come. And currently we have nothing here on our campus to pack for our future groups because we've taken everything that we've had."
Orphan's Heart needs donations of diapers and medical supplies, along with $30 child sponsorships. As this ministry affects kids' lives physically, the prayer is that they'll eventually come to Christ. Sponsor a child here.