Fe del Mundo’s 107th Birthday – “I’m glad that I have been very much involved in the care of children, and that I have been relevant to them,” says Filipina physician Fe del Mundo. “They are the most outstanding feature in my life.”
Born in Manilla on this day in 1911, del Mundo was inspired to study medicine by her older sister who did not herself live to realize her dream of becoming a doctor. Also known as “The Angel of Santo Tomas,” del Mundo devoted her life to child healthcare and revolutionized pediatric medicine in the process.
A gifted student who became the first woman admitted to Harvard Medical School, del Mundo returned home after completing her studies in the U.S. During World War II, she set up a hospice where she treated more than 400 children and later became director of a government hospital. Frustrated with the bureaucracy, she eventually sold her house and belongings to finance the first pediatric hospital in the Philippines. Del Mundo lived on the second floor of the Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City, making early morning rounds until she was 99 years old, even in a wheelchair.
When she wasn’t treating patients she was teaching students, publishing important research in medical journals, and authoring a definitive ‘Textbook of Pediatrics.’ She established the Institute of Maternal and Child Health to train doctors and nurses, and became the first woman to be conferred the title National Scientist of the Philippines and received many awards for her outstanding service to humankind.
Happy Birthday, Fe del Mundo!
You can find more about Fe del Mundo’s 107th Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page