Dra. Fe Del Mundo

Dra. Fe Del Mundo, born November 27, 1911 is known to be a Filipino Pediatrician. She is the first woman admitted as  a student at the Harvard Medical School. She founded the first pediatric hospital in the Philippines. She was given international recognition because of her pioneering work in pediatrics in the country in an active medical practice that spanned long 8 decades. That includes the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 1977. She was conferred the rank of National Scientist of the Philippines in 1980 and in 2010, she was conferred the Order of Lakandula.

She died just recently, August 6, 2011 after she suffered from cardiac arrest. She was burried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Some of us didn't know much about the late Dra. Fe Del Mundo. I for instance know the name well but her works were somewhat out of my knowledge.

Dra. Fe Del Mundo was noted for her pioneering work on infectious diseases in Philippine communities. Undeterred by the lack of well-equipped laboratories in post-war Philippines, she would not hesitate to send specimens or blood samples for analysis abroad. In the 1950's, she pursued studies on dengue fever, a common malady in the Philippines of which little was then yet known. Her clinical observations on dengue, and the findings of research she later undertook on the disease are said to "have led to a fuller understanding of dengue fever as it afflicts the young". She authored over a hundred articles, reviews and reports in medical journals on such diseases as dengue, polio and measles. She also authored "Textbook of Pediatrics", a fundamental medical text used in Philippine medical schools.

Dra. Fe Del Mundo was active in the field of public health, with special concerns towards rural communities. She organized rural extension teams to advise mothers on breastfeeding and child care and promoted the idea of linking hospitals to the community through the public immersion of physicians and other medical personnel to allow for greater coordination among health workers and the public for common health programs such as immunization and nutrition. She called for the greater integration of midwives into the medical community, considering their more visible presence within rural communities. Notwithstanding her own devout Catholicism, she is an advocate of family planning and population control.

Dra. Fe Del Mundo was also known for having devised an incubator made out of bamboo, designed for use in rural communities without electrical power.

In 1980, President Ferdinand Marcos named Dra. Fe Del Mundo as a National Scientist of the Philippines, the first Filipino woman to be so-named.

Among the international honors bestowed on Dra. Fe Del Mundo was the Elizabeth Blackwell Award for Outstanding Service to Mankind, handed in 1966 by Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and the citation as Outstanding Pediatrician and Humanitarian by the International Pediatric Association in 1977. The same year when she was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service.

On April 22, 2010, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo awarded Dra. Fe Del Mundo the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Bayani at the MalacaƱang Palace.

Dra. Fe Del Mundo is really one of a kind, no wonder she was given a life that long, though surely it wasn't enough. She should have done more if she can for the sake of her countrymen.


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