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Pictures Report

Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Venezuela's economic crisis is taking a crippling toll on the country's children, who face a growing risk of malnutrition as basic food is increasingly out of reach for many families. The public health system, notoriously short of medicine and other standard supplies, is unable to provide much succor, and aid groups struggle to bridge the gap.
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December 18, 2019
Gregoria Hernandez, 23, sits next to her seven-month-old daughter Sonia, who according to her has diarrhoea...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Gregoria Hernandez, 23, sits next to her seven-month-old daughter Sonia, who according to her has diarrhoea and is underweight, while resting on a bed in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, August 16, 2019. "I feel like the worst of mothers, because I don't have a way to help them, to give them what they need, the food they need," said Hernandez. Venezuela's economic crisis is taking a crippling toll on the country's children, who face a growing risk of malnutrition as basic food is increasingly out of reach for many families. The public health system, notoriously short of medicine and other standard supplies, is unable to provide much succor, and aid groups struggle to bridge the gap.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Kenai Rivero, who is two months old and has been diagnosed with malnutrition, is checked by a doctor...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Kenai Rivero, who is two months old and has been diagnosed with malnutrition, is checked by a doctor during a special event for children with nutritional problems organised by Catholic relief agency Caritas, at a church in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, August 10, 2019. Kenai's mother, Francys Rivero, an unemployed single mother of four, feared for her baby's life. Two months after his birth, even though she was breastfeeding him regularly, Kenai de Jesus wasn't gaining weight. "I feel like my heart is breaking," Rivero, 32, told Reuters in an interview here in the capital of the western Venezuelan state of Lara. "I don't know what's wrong with my son."

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Francys Rivero, seen holding her two-month-old son Kenai while they wait to be seen at a Caritas special...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Francys Rivero, seen holding her two-month-old son Kenai while they wait to be seen at a Caritas special event for children with nutritional problems, tried repeatedly to see nutritionists, but failed. One didn't show up, another required a month-long wait. Desperate, Rivero attended a charity event offering checkups and information for families of children with nutritional problems. At the event, organized by Caritas, the Catholic aid organization, doctors performed a check-up. With donations from the charity, and financial assistance from siblings now living abroad, Rivero began supplementing her breast milk with baby formula.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Francys Rivero holds her five-month-old son Kenai, who recovered from malnutrition, while talking to...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Francys Rivero holds her five-month-old son Kenai, who recovered from malnutrition, while talking to her sons Collins, 11, and Enmanuel, 2, outside their home in Barquisimeto. Within weeks, Kenai rebounded. By December, he reached an acceptable weight for his age. But Rivero, like many enduring a recession now in its sixth year, fears she could once again find herself short of the money needed to keep him healthy. "How am I going to afford such expensive food?" she asks.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Split peas soak in a plastic bowl at Blanca Naveda's house, who says at least two of her three sons are...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Split peas soak in a plastic bowl at Blanca Naveda's house, who says at least two of her three sons are underweight for their age, in Barquisimeto. President Nicolas Maduro, increasingly a global pariah for undermining democracy and overseeing the country's economic collapse, blames the crisis and food shortages on U.S. sanctions meant to force him from power. The leader, also accused of overseeing widespread human-rights abuses and turning a blind eye to suffering across the once-prosperous country, often says foreign media and global aid organizations exaggerate Venezuela's problems.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Carlos Flores, 15, who is underweight for his stature according to his mother Blanca Naveda, stands in...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Carlos Flores, 15, who is underweight for his stature according to his mother Blanca Naveda, stands in front of pictures of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez at his house in Barquisimeto. Naveda, who primarily relies on government subsidized bags of food to feed her family, said: "It has not arrived in a month and a half ... Right now, thank God we have the food from the bag, that's how we get by." She said, "One day we were here with nothing and my husband arrived in the afternoon and what we had was one plantain and I had to share it with the three of them (referring to her three sons), and that's what they ate." "Sometimes when we have gone almost two days without eating, I've seen them lose weight". She also said, "I wish that things would normalize, that everything would get better. I wish the food would get cheaper, for us to be able to buy it, because not even a (bag of) flour can be bought, not (a bag) of flour, not a kilo of beans." REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Adelaida Marquez, 25, serves ready-to-use therapeutic food to her 15-month-old son Javier, who has been...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Adelaida Marquez, 25, serves ready-to-use therapeutic food to her 15-month-old son Javier, who has been diagnosed with malnutrition, at the house of her sister-in-law where they are staying whilst receiving medical treatment in Barquisimeto. "I was afraid he was going to die," said Marquez. Her son later recovered thanks to ready-to-use therapeutic food, known as RUTF, a packaged food that has been delivered to Venezuela by U.N. children's agency UNICEF. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Jose Maria, 6, who is underweight for his age and has been diagnosed with malnutrition according to his...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Jose Maria, 6, who is underweight for his age and has been diagnosed with malnutrition according to his mother Rosa Rojas, stands on a chair after bathing at his house in Barquisimeto. "I wish my children didn't want for anything, not food, not anything. Sometimes water is difficult for us, sometimes I don't have water and I have to ask for it, it's very difficult. We don't have cooking gas, we're constantly looking for firewood," said Rojas, a 32-year-old widow and mother of six. Rojas said she relies on rice and other carbohydrates to keep her kids fed. Rare is the day they get three full meals. "We just eat twice," she said.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Yinmari Colmenares, 9, who is underweight for her age according to her mother, eats an arepa at her house...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Yinmari Colmenares, 9, who is underweight for her age according to her mother, eats an arepa at her house in Barquisimeto. "Sometimes she says: Mama I'm hungry, my stomach burns. That makes me sick," said Dulce Colmenares. "It's hard; sometimes when I don't have anything, I try to communicate with my sister so she can help me," she explained in tears, while talking about how difficult it is not to have enough food. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Rosa Rojas and her son Jose Maria, 6, who according to her is underweight for his age and has been diagnosed...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Rosa Rojas and her son Jose Maria, 6, who according to her is underweight for his age and has been diagnosed with malnutrition, pose for a picture at their house in Barquisimeto. A lack of proper nutrition is stunting growth, diminishing cognitive development and causing physical and emotional trauma among hundreds of thousands of young Venezuelans. As a result, doctors and other health experts argue, Venezuela faces a generation of young people who will never meet their full physical or mental potential.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Pastor, 3, and Josue, 4, walk outside their house in Barquisimeto. Their mother Gregoria Hernandez, a...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Pastor, 3, and Josue, 4, walk outside their house in Barquisimeto. Their mother Gregoria Hernandez, a 23-year-old homemaker, recently hospitalized Pastor and Josue, because they were malnourished. Shortly after their release, Sonia, her 7-month-old daughter, needed similar medical help. "I feel like the worst of mothers," Hernandez told Reuters. "I don't have a way to help them, to give them what they need."

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Sometimes, families are torn between competing needs. Deina Alvarez, a 6-year-old student and aspiring...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Sometimes, families are torn between competing needs. Deina Alvarez, a 6-year-old student and aspiring gymnast, seen drawing a picture at home in Barquisimeto, is underweight and receiving nutritional supplements from a local charity Mapani. Although her parents both work, they don't earn enough to fill a grocery cart and buy the medicines they both need as epileptics. "Either we pay for medicine or we pay for food," said Deina's mother Diana Rodriguez. Rodriguez says the family provides Deina and her brother Anderson simple meals like rice and beans each day. Mapani provides consultations with nutritionists and doctors and emergency services for critically malnourished children, and tracks children's progress to keep them from slipping back.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Mist travels through a slum in Barquisimeto. Between 2013 and 2018, according to the United Nations Children's...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Mist travels through a slum in Barquisimeto. Between 2013 and 2018, according to the United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF, 13% of the country's children suffered from malnutrition. Caritas, in a recent study conducted in five Venezuelan states and the capital, Caracas, found that 16% of children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition and that nearly twice as many suffer from low growth rates for their age.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Zuleidi Hernandez carries her seven-month-old niece Sonia, who has diarrhoea and is underweight, according...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Zuleidi Hernandez carries her seven-month-old niece Sonia, who has diarrhoea and is underweight, according to her mother, outside her house in Barquisimeto. Although the United Nations and other agencies import some food and nutritional aid, it isn't enough for Venezuela's needs and the assistance doesn't always get where it is most required. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has raised just a third of the $222.7 million it sought for Venezuela for the second half of 2019, according to official U.N. data.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Pastor Suarez, 3, who was hospitalised a few months before for being malnourished according to his mother,...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Pastor Suarez, 3, who was hospitalised a few months before for being malnourished according to his mother, touches available food displayed on a bed for a photo at his house in Barquisimeto. "A population suffering from malnutrition implies we are going to have adults with less physical and intellectual potential," said Raquel Mendoza, a nutritionist at Mapani, an aid group in Barquisimeto that helps poor families diagnose and treat malnourished children. "We're going to see a regression in the development of the country because human resources are diminished."

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Sonia, seven months old, who has diarrhoea and is underweight according to her mother, rests on a bed...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Sonia, seven months old, who has diarrhoea and is underweight according to her mother, rests on a bed after bathing at her house in Barquisimeto. "She weighed 6 kilos and now weighs 5, she lost a kilo ... due to diarrhoea, she lost a kilo, what worries me is that she could also end up in a hospital," said Gregoria Hernandez, Sonia's mother, who has previously had two other children hospitalised for malnutrition. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Sonia Suarez, who is 10 months old and recovering after being hospitalised for malnutrition according...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Sonia Suarez, who is 10 months old and recovering after being hospitalised for malnutrition according to her mother, rests on a bed at her house in Barquisimeto. Venezuela's Information Ministry, responsible for government communications including those of the Health Ministry, didn't respond to requests for comment. The ministry's 2016 annual report, the last one it published, celebrated advances in nutrition since the 1980s and said child malnutrition "has stopped being a public health problem."

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Adelaida Marquez, 25, carries her 15-month-old son Javier, who has been diagnosed with malnutrition,...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Adelaida Marquez, 25, carries her 15-month-old son Javier, who has been diagnosed with malnutrition, at the house of her sister-in-law where they are staying whilst they receive medical treatment in Barquisimeto. When Marquez saw her son Javier showing signs of malnourishment, a local hospital told her to give him tea made from boiled herbs and to keep him hydrated. He continued to lose weight. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Adelaida Marquez, 25, carries her 15-month-old son Javier, who has been diagnosed with malnutrition,...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Adelaida Marquez, 25, carries her 15-month-old son Javier, who has been diagnosed with malnutrition, as her husband Javier Liendo, 29, tends to a fire cooking a meal at his sister's house, where they are staying to receive medical treatment in Barquisimeto. "Before, they had everything. They ate three times a day, they ate chicken, meat, eggs, they drank juices - things we can't do now," said Marquez, explaining the food she can provide for her children. "With the current situation, we can barely eat." REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Francys Rivero carries her two-month-old son Kenai while they wait to be seen at a special event for...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Francys Rivero carries her two-month-old son Kenai while they wait to be seen at a special event for children with nutritional problems, organised by Catholic relief agency Caritas, at a church in Barquisimeto. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Francys Rivero holds her two-month-old son Kenai, who has been diagnosed with malnutrition, while they...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Francys Rivero holds her two-month-old son Kenai, who has been diagnosed with malnutrition, while they wait for him to receive tests at a clinic in Barquisimeto. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Francys Rivero breastfeeds her son Kenai, who has been diagnosed with malnutrition, while she talks to...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Francys Rivero breastfeeds her son Kenai, who has been diagnosed with malnutrition, while she talks to a doctor during a special event for children with nutritional problems, organised by Catholic relief agency Caritas, at a church in Barquisimeto. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Francys Rivero holds her son Kenai, who has been diagnosed with malnutrition, while he receives a blood...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Francys Rivero holds her son Kenai, who has been diagnosed with malnutrition, while he receives a blood test at a clinic in Barquisimeto. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Deina Alvarez, 6, who is underweight for her age according to her mother, Diana Rodriguez, and is undergoing...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Deina Alvarez, 6, who is underweight for her age according to her mother, Diana Rodriguez, and is undergoing treatment for malnutrition at the non-profit organisation Mapani, plays with Venezuelan bolivar notes that have been made worthless by hyperinflation, at her house in Barquisimeto. "There are days when I say 'My god, what do I do?' We are not in a position to give (the kids) what they need, but that's no longer in our hands," said Rodriguez. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Sorelys Almao, 43, breastfeeds her 16-month-old daughter Gibellys, who she says has had trouble gaining...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Sorelys Almao, 43, breastfeeds her 16-month-old daughter Gibellys, who she says has had trouble gaining weight at their house in Barquisimeto. Almao said that lately it has been very difficult for the family to provide Gibellys with a balanced diet. "I haven't eaten it for a while," she said, when asked when they last ate meat. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Jose Maria, 6, who is underweight for his age and has been diagnosed with malnutrition, according to...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Jose Maria, 6, who is underweight for his age and has been diagnosed with malnutrition, according to his mother Rosa Rojas, watches a neighbor play a video game at his house in Barquisimeto. "This week I didn't have anything to give them, we spent a week without food, I couldn't find how to give them. A lady came and sent me a half kilo of rice. My dad gave me (food) last night and I gave them sweet rice to feed them, because it is hard for me, sometimes I don't have anything, sometimes I do," said Rojas. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Jose Maria, 6, who is underweight for his age, and has been diagnosed with malnutrition according to...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Jose Maria, 6, who is underweight for his age, and has been diagnosed with malnutrition according to his mother Rosa Rojas, rests next to a CLAP box, outside of his house in Barquisimeto. CLAP is a Venezuelan government program which provides basic food at subsidized prices. "Very ugly, it's an ugly life," says Rojas, as she describes how complicated it is to find wood for cooking, and how much they are affected by power cuts and the lack of water. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Jose Maria, 6, who is underweight for his age and has been diagnosed with malnutrition according to his...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Jose Maria, 6, who is underweight for his age and has been diagnosed with malnutrition according to his mother Rosa Rojas, plays with marbles outside his house in Barquisimeto. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Jose Maria, 6, who is underweight for his age and has been diagnosed with malnutrition according to his...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Jose Maria, 6, who is underweight for his age and has been diagnosed with malnutrition according to his mother Rosa Rojas, takes a bath outside his house in Barquisimeto. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Community members prepare soup for free distribution for people attending a special event for children...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Community members prepare soup for free distribution for people attending a special event for children with nutritional problems, organised by Catholic relief agency Caritas, at a church in Barquisimeto. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Gregoria Hernandez feeds pasta and rice for lunch to her daughter Sonia, who was hospitalised a couple...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Gregoria Hernandez feeds pasta and rice for lunch to her daughter Sonia, who was hospitalised a couple of months ago for malnutrition, at their house in Barquisimeto. When Sonia's vital signs began slipping, Hernandez boarded an ambulance where medics struggled to find a vein in Sonia's emaciated body to intravenously hydrate her. "I thought she was going to die in that ambulance," said Hernandez. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Pastor, 3, and Josue, 4, both of whom have been hospitalised in the past for malnutrition, according...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Pastor, 3, and Josue, 4, both of whom have been hospitalised in the past for malnutrition, according to their mother, bathe next to their brother Duglas, 5, outside their house in Barquisimeto. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Jose Maria, 6, stands between sisters Rosibel, 5, and Rosa Maria, 13, and their dog Shakira, while they...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Jose Maria, 6, stands between sisters Rosibel, 5, and Rosa Maria, 13, and their dog Shakira, while they wait for their mother, Rosa Rojas, outside the house of a neighbor in Barquisimeto. The 32-year-old mother of six lives with four of her children in a wood and zinc shack without running water in a poor neighborhood. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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December 18, 2019
Johanna Mendoza, 36, holds her 18-month-old daughter Johanny, who is recovering from malnutrition, while...
Barquisimeto, Venezuela
The Wider Image: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela
Johanna Mendoza, 36, holds her 18-month-old daughter Johanny, who is recovering from malnutrition, while waiting to be checked at the non-profit organization Mapani in Barquisimeto. "The doctor told me that my girl was malnourished, and she also had a serious bacterial infection, that if she didn't receive treatment in time, she could die," Mendoza said. She also mentioned that they visited a public hospital several times and Johanny was never correctly diagnosed, "They only checked her and said she had a bacteria in her mouth." Mapani is a nutrition-focused non-profit organization. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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