Champion of child health, pillar of Infectious Disease medicine in Philippines dies of COVID-19

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Champion of child health, pillar of Infectious Disease medicine in Philippines dies of COVID-19
Dr. Salvacion R. Gatchalian was the president of the Philippine Pediatric Society when she passed away due to COVID-19.
Philippine Pediatric Society official website

MANILA, Philippines — A pillar of the Philippines’ Pediatric Infectious Disease medicine and a champion of children’s health has fallen in the battle against the deadly coronavirus.

Dr. Salvacion Rodriguez-Gatchalian passed away on Thursday, March 26, her sister Ruby Rodriguez announced.

Gatchalian was the president of the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) that leads training of physicians on child health. She also served as the assistant director at the Research of Institute of Tropical Medicine that houses the country’s lone testing center for COVID-19.

She too had been a fellow of Pediatric Infectious Disease for more than three decades.

A mentor, champion in Infectious Disease

Gatchalian’s Facebook account was flooded with  expressions of grief as her colleagues mourned the passing of a mentor to young researchers and doctors.

A post remembered Gatchalian as a “great mentor and friend to many young doctors and scientists in [University of the Philippines and RITM].”

On Twitter, tributes for Gatchalian continue to pour from her colleagues locally and abroad.

Dr. Edsel Salvana, an infectious disease specialist and molecular biologist, recalled that Gatchalian was “a mentor, friend and cheerleader for us [Infectious Disease] specialists.”

Dr. Kristy Murray, a professor of paediatrics and director at Center for Human Immunobiology at Texas Children’s Hospital, remembered her as “a champion for children’s health.”

“She helped create the Philippines Coalition against TB and fought infectious diseases, saving so many lives,” Murray also wrote on Twitter.

According to her 2018 profile at the PPS, Gatchalian is affiliated with the World Society of Pediatric Infectious Disease, Asian Society of Pediatrics Infectious Disease and International Society for Tropical Pediatrics.

Gatchalian was also a member of the Board of Trustees of Tropical Disease Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 1984 “that seeks to control and prevent the spread of infectious diseases with public significance through research, training and the provision of timely and relevant service.”

‘Manang Sally’

She is also known as the sister of noontime TV host Ruby Rodriguez who took it to Instagram to mourn the death of her sister she fondly called as “Manang Sally.”

Ruby said their family will remember her sister “with happy memories, laughing and sleeping, your Johnson outfits and all, how [you] love your bling bling, your Kuaff hair [every day], your [Korean drama] addition (you got me hooked up too).”

The TV host bid goodbye to her sister: "Have fun in heaven!"




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