Guatemala (MNN) — Eight million children die every year from preventable diseases around the world. That's 22,000 children a day — one every four seconds. Why?
President and CEO of Medical Teams International Bas Vanderzalm says, "Most of them die because of reasons related to malnutrition. It's a major cause of why children die. And we can fix that. There's not a reason these children need to die."
Vanderzalm says Medical Teams International is focusing on Guatemala. "It's one of the worst places in the world with the highest rates of malnutrition: 70 percent of the children are malnourished. The reason they're malnourished is because they're not getting the right kind of food that they need, and their family members–their parents–don't know what to do when their children get sick."
MTI provides training for parents in basic health care, planting vegetable gardens, and disease prevention. They work with churches and community leaders to make this happen.
Vanderzalm says you can make a huge difference with so little. "For just $7, we can actually help protect one child from malnutrition. For $42, we can help an entire family."
As you commit to $42 a month, you're helping about 100 people every year learn how to protect their families physically, as well as spiritually. "In every community that we go into in Guatemala, we're reaching out to local churches. And it's a way to show God's grace and love in partnership with these churches, to others in the community who may not know God's love."
"For every family that we help, that's a permanent change for them because once they know what to do, they will do that for the rest of the lives of these children. We can go on and help another family and another family and another family."
MTI has been working in Guatemala for a number of years. "We have seen communities where malnutrition rates have gone down 20, 30 and 40 percent."