Perla Dizon Santos Ocampo, MD ONS, was a Filipino pediatrician who made significant contributions to the field of medicine and public health in the Philippines. Her research on diarrheal disease and child malnutrition has helped shape the country’s policies on these health concerns. She also played a crucial role in the development of health education in the Philippines, particularly in the establishment of various health institutions and programs.
Born on July 25, 1931, in Dagupan, Pangasinan, Perla Santos-Ocampo pursued a medical degree at the University of the Philippines Manila, graduating in 1955. She then continued her post-graduate pediatrics training at the UP-Philippine General Hospital and a fellowship at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.
Santos-Ocampo’s research on diarrheal disease has had a significant impact on the Philippines’ policy on this health concern. Her work helped establish guidelines for the management and prevention of diarrhea, which has been one of the leading causes of death among Filipino children. Her research on malnutrition and child growth and development was also crucial in addressing the country’s fight against child malnutrition.
In addition to her contributions to medicine and public health, Santos-Ocampo was also an important figure in the development of health education in the Philippines. She served as the Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Manila, where she implemented academic programs to enhance the quality of health education offered by the university. She also played a vital role in establishing the National Institutes of Health, the National Graduate School of the Health Sciences, and the National Telehealth Center.
For her significant contributions to the field of medicine and public health, Perla Santos-Ocampo was honored as a National Scientist of the Philippines in 2011. Her legacy continues to inspire and influence future generations of Filipino healthcare professionals and public health advocates.
Perla Santos-Ocampo passed away on June 29, 2012, due to respiratory failure caused by colon cancer. Her contributions to the field of medicine and public health in the Philippines have left a lasting impact on the health and well-being of the Filipino people.