Dr. Fe del Mundo pioneered numerous innovations throughout her more than 70-year medical career. A committed humanitarian, del Mundo dedicated her life to the health of the world’s children.
The first Asian woman admitted into Harvard, she pursued graduate degrees in America after receiving her medical degree from the University of the Philippines. She returned to the Philippines during World War II, and established a children’s branch of a Japanese internment camp and directed the Manila Children’s Hospital.
She headed the Department of Pediatrics at Far Eastern University for more than two decades and founded The Children’s Medical Center Foundation in 1957, bringing medical care to rural Filipino families with no health care, saving children dying of dehydration and establishing family planning clinics. Del Mundo also established the Institute of Maternal and Child Health, which trains doctors and nurses.
Del Mundo revolutionized Philippine medicine, making major breakthroughs in immunization and in the treatment of jaundice, and providing healthcare to thousands of poor families. She is credited with studies that led to the invention of the incubator and a jaundice relieving device. Her methods, like the BRAT diet for curing diarrhea, have spread throughout the world and saved millions.
She was the president of the Medical Women’s International Association; the first female president of the Philippine Pediatric Society; an honorary member of the American Pediatric Society; and a consultant of the World Health Organization. She has been honored with the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service by a private citizen, and 15th International Congress of Pediatrics award as most outstanding pediatrician and humanitarian. She died in 2011.