A Timely Diagnosis
Providentially, Cheyla was due for a regular health screening at her child development center, newly opened in 2019 when a nearby church began partnering with Compassion. At her checkup in early March 2020, a doctor discovered that she was underweight and diagnosed her with iron deficiency anemia.
“The moment we found out … we quickly started working,” says Ana Guido, director of the church-based child development center. “With the COVID-19 situation, it was difficult for the family to go to the hospital.”
Iron deficiency anemia occurs when the body doesn’t have enough iron to create hemoglobin, a blood protein that carries oxygen to the tissues and carbon dioxide away to the lungs for removal. It can be caused by a lack of iron in the diet, the inability to absorb iron, blood loss or pregnancy. Left untreated, it can cause serious health problems and damage organs, including the heart. But Cheyla had the help she needed to avoid that dire outcome. The doctor at her center immediately put her on a special diet, vitamins, iron supplements and deworming medicine.
The treatment regimen began just in time, before the coronavirus pandemic forced Cheyla’s child development center to suspend activities — including serving meals to kids. If she hadn’t been diagnosed before the coming chaos of quarantine orders, her condition likely would have grown much worse while she stayed home with scarce food.