Many women from different walks of life have proudly written their names in the history books and you can count Fe del Mundo as one of them. On the 27th of November 2018, a day that was supposed to be her 107th birthday if she’d still been alive, Google Doddle as is with the case with late world figures, honored her. Hailing from the Philippines, Fe del Mundo stood out in the field of medicine as a pediatrician.
She is widely regarded as the pacesetter within and beyond the Filipino medical community thanks to her contributions to the field of pediatric medical care which spanned several decades. Her many contributions included setting up the foremost pediatric hospital in the Philippines, important research findings, designing a low-cost incubator in addition to providing legions of children with free medical care during the Japanese invasion of her country. In addition to that posthumous Google Doddle, Mundo has been officially honored by the Filipino government with several prestigious awards.
Fe del Mundo’s Biography & Age
Fe del Mundo was born on the 27th of November 1911 in Manila, the capital of the Philippines state to Paz del Mundo and her husband Bernardo del Mundo. She was raised in Manila along with her siblings, some of whom passed away while still very young.
Del Mundo was admitted to study medicine at the University of Philippines College of Medicine in 1926. After seven years of study at the college, she graduated with a medical degree with stellar results. Quite the achiever, she quickly went on to take the medical board examination and emerged with the third highest score amongst the candidates of that year. After witnessing the plight of children’s health in the provinces of the Philippines, she came to the decision to practice pediatric medicine.
Impressed by her outstanding academic performance, the president of the country offered Fe del Mundo a full scholarship to continue her studies in the United States of America. She promptly seized the opportunity and embarked on a trip that saw her complete a successful fellowship at the Harvard Medical School as well as a post-graduate degree in bacteriology from the School of Medicine at Boston University before her return to her home country in 1941.
When Fe del Mundo arrived from the United States, her country had been invaded by Japan and many of her people sent to internment camps. One of these camps was located within the campus of the University of Santos Tomas. Mundo put together a temporary hospice to care for the children in the Santo Tomas camp. The hospice was closed by the invaders and she soon began to run a children’s hospital at the behest of the Mayor of Manila. The hospital would ultimately become a general hospital with Mundo continuing to be in charge until the late nineteen forties.
Fe del Mundo spent most of the nineteen fifties as a lecturer at the medical schools of some of the Universities in the Philippines and before the decade ended, she successfully secured the funding necessary to set up the country’s foremost pediatric hospital called The Children’s Medical Center.
She passed away in August 2011 after a cardiac arrest. She was 99 years old.
Fe del Mundo’s Parents and Family
Fe del Mundo’s father, Bernardo del Mundo, was a successful legal practitioner. Bernardo del Mundo was also a politician who at a point in his career successfully won a seat in the Philippines parliament. Her mother, Paz del Mundo died about the time Mundo was 14 years of age.
Del Mundo’s sister who had passed on at the age of eleven was the initial source of inspiration that fueled her desire to go into the medical field as it was her sister’s dream to grow up and pursue a career in medicine to enable her to reduce the widespread suffering and poor health conditions amongst the downtrodden of Filipino society at the time. After the death of her sister, Fe del Mundo made this dream her own by forging ahead to create herself a medical career that became one of the most admired in the history of the Philippines and the world over.
Mundo never married nor had any children of her own. However, despite her hectic schedule, she found time to spend with her nieces and nephews as she was quite fond of them. One of her nephews, Doctor Jade Del Mundo once worked as a Department of Health Undersecretary in the United States government.
Other Facts About The Pediatrician
• Fe del Mundo set up Asia’s first ever institute that focused on mother and child health.
• She relinquished ownership of the children’s hospital she founded to the board of trustees.
• She mentioned that she was happy she never got married as that may have stifled her personal career ambitions.
• Mundo was a strong proponent of broad usage of birth control methods and family planning.
• She was the creator of a bamboo-based incubator, which was aimed at localities without electricity.