The Nation mourns the passing of a great Filipino. National Scientist Fe S. del Mundo, the first woman admitted at Harvard Medical School and founder of the first pediatric hospital in the Philippines, died 06 August 2011 at age 99.
Dr. del Mundo’s long and distinguished career was marked by her pioneering work in pediatrics, which won her not only local but global recognition for her research on diseases such as dengue, polio, and measles. She authored the first local textbook on pediatrics and developed an incubator made from bamboo that became a staple in rural health centers without electricity.
As a public health advocate, she was responsible for linking hospitals to communities especially in far-flung areas through the public immersion of physicians and other medical personnel. This innovative approach made possible the greater coordination among doctors and medical workers with the public for common health programs such as immunization and nutrition.
In 1966, Dr. del Mundo received the Elizabeth Blackwell Award for Outstanding Service to Mankind from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. In 1977, she was cited by the International Pediatric Association as Outstanding Pediatrician and Humanitarian. In 1980, she was named National Scientist of the Philippines, the first woman to be honored. And in 2010, Dr. del Mundo was conferred the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Bayani at Malacanang Palace.
Beyond these accolades, however, Dr. del Mundo shall forever be remembered for according due importance to the medical needs of children and indigents, and to the role of medical professionals in the greater community. She put a human face to the practice of medicine, and opened doors for generations of Filipino women in the medical fields.
Dr. Fe S. del Mundo—doctor, teacher, trailblazer.