Filipino Doctor Fe Del Mundo

Fe Del Mundo dedicated her life to the cause of pediatrics in the Philippines.

Dr. Fe Del Mundo Medical Center (Children's Medical Center of the Philippines)
Dr. Fe Del Mundo Medical Center (Children's Medical Center of the Philippines).  Burtdc/Wikimedia Commons/CC0 1.0 Public Domain

Doctor Fe Del Mundo is credited with studies that lead to the invention of an improved incubator and a jaundice-relieving device. She has dedicated her life to the cause of pediatrics in the Philippines. Her pioneering work in pediatrics in the Philippines in an active medical practice that spanned 8 decades.


  • In 1966, Fe Del Mundo received the Elizabeth Blackwell Award for "outstanding service to mankind".
  • In 1977, Fe Del Mundo received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for outstanding public service.
  • She also received the 15th International Congress of Pediatrics award as the most outstanding pediatrician and humanitarian in 1977.


Fe Del Mundo was born in Manila on November 27, 1911. She was the sixth of eight children.  Her father Bernardo served one term in the Philippine Assembly, representing the province of Tayabas. Three of her eight siblings died in infancy, while an older sister died from appendicitis at age 11. It was the death of her older sister, who had made known her desire to become a doctor for the poor, that spurred young Del Mundo towards the medical profession.

At age 15, Del Mundo entered the University of the Philippines and received an associate in arts and later a medical degree with highest honors. In 1940, she received a master's degree in bacteriology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Medical Practice

Del Mundo returned to the Philippines in 1941. She joined the International Red Cross and volunteered to care for children-internees then detained at the University of Santo Tomas internment camp for foreign nationals. She established a makeshift hospice within the internment camp, and she became known as "The Angel of Santo Tomas." After the Japanese authorities shut down the hospice in 1943, Del Mundo was asked by the Manila mayor to head a children's hospital under the auspices of the city government. The hospital was later converted into a full-care medical center to cope with the increasing casualties during the Battle of Manila and would be renamed the North General Hospital. Del Mundo would remain the hospital's director until 1948.

Frustrated by the bureaucratic constraints in working for a government hospital, Del Mundo wanted to establish her own pediatric hospital. She sold her home and got a loan to finance the construction of her own hospital. The Children's Medical Center, a 100-bed hospital located in Quezon City, was inaugurated in 1957 as the first pediatric hospital in the Philippines. The hospital was expanded in 1966 through the establishment of an Institute of Maternal and Child Health, the first institution of its kind in Asia.

Having sold her home to finance the medical center, del Mundo chose to reside at the second-floor of the hospital itself. As late as 2007, she retained her living quarters at the hospital (since renamed the "Dr. Fe del Mundo Children's Medical Center Foundation"), rising daily and continuing to make her daily rounds even though then wheelchair-bound at 99 years of age.