Adela Estrada Carrera, 28, lives in the rural community of La Victoria (the Victory) in the district of Shunté in Peru's San Martin region. The mother of two children, she begins each day at 4:00 a.m. by cleaning the house, preparing food and attending to her family’s needs. Once she is finished, she hurries off to start her visits to the homes of neighboring families in the community.
Estrada Carrera is not famous or a politician, yet she leads the fight for maternal-child health improvement in her community. The routine visits and counseling that she provides to each family represent a tremendous contribution.
In Peru, 90 percent of women report significant barriers in accessing health services. In rural areas, 40 percent of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. Further challenges include the low involvement of men in the areas of maternal, child and reproductive health, and the lack of women in decision-making roles and leadership.
Becoming an advocate of healthy lifestyles was not an easy decision for Estrada Carrera. Born with a pelvis deformity, she used to refuse medical advice as a way of rebelling against her own condition. During her second pregnancy, and thanks to the work conducted by USAID’s Healthy Communities and Municipalities project, she became aware of the life-endangering risks that she and her baby were exposed to, and with the proper prenatal health care she received, her baby boy was born healthy.
"With the support of USAID’s Healthy Communities and Municipalities project, my family is healthy and we live happily," says Estrada Carrera. They’ve taught us how important health is in our lives … drinking boiled water, washing our hands, cleaning and tidying up our home and, something really important: going to the health clinic when one is pregnant for one’s prenatal check-ups. I breastfeed my baby Josué and I keep him healthy so when he grows up he’ll be a hard worker.”
Estrada Carrera is a woman who both represents La Victoria and symbolizes the pursuit of victory. Her physical limitations never deterred her. She made a decision to help make her community a healthier one, a model in the district. Her commitment to this challenge, and her accomplishments so far, are a good indication that she and her community will succeed.
The Healthy Communities and Municipalities project, which runs from December 2010 to December 2015, is designed to improve maternal and child health, nutrition, family planning, and reproductive health in poor and marginalized communities in San Martin, Ucayali and Ayacucho.
Last updated: November 21, 2013