Dr. Fe del Mundo, 99, national treasure
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines – Hers was a life distinguished by many firsts, but none of this seemed as important to the country’s national treasure in medicine as the one that came first in her heart: the health of generations of Filipino children.
Dr. Fe del Mundo -- the Philippines’ first national scientist, recently cited by President Benigno Aquino III as among the most important Philippine inventors, with her bamboo incubator for remote rural areas -- died quietly on Saturday from cardiac arrest at the age of 99.
Del Mundo founded the first hospital for children in the Philippines, in Quezon City, in 1957.
A devout Catholic who attended mass daily, her body will be transferred to Sto. Domingo Church from the Dr. Fe del Mundo Medical Center Foundation in Quezon City, and plans are being laid down for her burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on August 10.
Besides being the first Filipino national scientist, she was also the first woman to be admitted to the Harvard Medical School, and founded the first pediatric hospital in the country.
Del Mundo never married, having decided early on to devote her life to nurturing Filipino children, especially in poor communities. The bamboo incubator she invented was meant to help give at-risk infants in poor, remote areas a fighting chance from complications of being premature, or having jaundice.
At the young age of 17, she got her associate in arts degree from the University of the Philippines and graduated at the top of her class at the UP College of Medicine.
She is survived by the children of her only brother, Salvador, and two sisters, Corazon del Mundo-Cruz and Carmen del Mundo-Belmonte.
Del Mundo’s work was recognized by the Ramon Magsaysay awards and last year, then President Gloria Arroyo conferred on her the Lakandula Award with rank of Bayani.