Recently, we had the opportunity to talk with Agustín Malueños, Health Promoter in the rural community of El Cedro, in the South Caribbean Region of Nicaragua (RACCS). He shared about what motivated him to become a Health Promoter when he was first elected by his community 17 years ago and talked about some of the most impactful changes he has witnessed in this community.
Agustín shares, “At that time, it was the Pastor of the church that asked me if I was interested to work as a Health Promoter in the community. There was also another man nominated for the position. I remember he had 80 votes in his favor, and I only got 1 vote. Later on, the other candidate found out that a Health Promoter worked as a volunteer and didn’t receive a salary, and he decided to quit. The community gathered once again and voted me as their Health Promoter.”
“In that moment I was 43 years old. I left my community to start my training, which took me 2 months and 1 week to complete.”
How did you feel when you were elected a Health Promoter?
Agustín: “Back then, I decided to serve my community, try to get to know more people, and become their friend. My mom died when I was only 7 years old, so I always felt that having friends was like having a big family. I wanted to be there for people and be able to help them. I knew how sad it could be to have a problem and have no one to talk to.”
How did your community look like before having a trained Health Promoter, in terms of access to health care and diseases?
Agustín: “Before a Health Promoter was trained, children would die very often. Most of them would die due to the large number of parasites in their bodies. Women would give birth at home. If a woman had complications during childbirth, we would have to carry her in a hammock and take her to the closest health center in El Ayote. It would take us 14 hours to get her there. Sadly, many babies died at birth.”
“Also, people didn’t get vaccinated. Most parents didn’t trust in vaccines and thought they were not needed. Because of that, families were exposed to many diseases.”
How is life in the community for families now?
Agustín: “Nowadays, all children get vaccinated. Parents understand that vaccines protect their children and help them prevent diseases. Thanks to AMOS and its donors, we have water filters in the community and people can drink clean water. This has been a huge improvement for the community. Now, less people suffer from diarrhea and parasites.”
“In the case of pregnant women, I visit them every month. Through these home visits I am able to monitor their pregnancies and identify any signs of alarm. When a woman presents any of these signs of alarm, we immediately transfer her to the closest health center.”
“Thanks to the work of the health committee, the medicines and the trainings I have received from AMOS, we have managed to prevent many deaths in the community. No mother or child has died in the community in many years. All families have my cellphone number and they know they can call me anytime in case of an emergency.”
“I am thankful to the people that believed in me. I am thankful for my community. In the last couple of months, many people have been calling to ask if I am doing well. They were worried about me because of the pandemic, they thought I could get sick. However, we have been following all the prevention measures. I hope we can continue working together for the well-being and health of my beloved community of El Cedro.”
The life-saving work of Health Promoters, like Agustín Malueños, is only possible thanks to the generosity and compassionate love of people like you.
To support the work of Agustín and Health Promoters in 23 rural, remote communities in Nicaragua, please consider making a gift to AMOS Health and Hope.