Salvacion Rodriguez-Gatchalian
RITM assistant chief succumbs to COVID
Kristine Joy Patag (The Philippine Star) - March 27, 2020 - 12:00am

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 disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Salvacion Rodriguez-Gatchalian passed away yesterday, 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 Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) that houses the country’s lone testing center for COVID-19.

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

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 in from her colleagues locally and abroad.

Edsel Salvana, an infectious disease specialist and molecular biologist, recalled that Gatchalian was “a mentor, friend and cheerleader for us (infectious disease) specialists.”

“The first of our Infectious Diseases brethren to fall to #COVID-19 in the #Philippines. This hurts so much. Ma’am Sally was a mentor, friend and cheerleader to us ID specialists. We shall carry your lessons with us in this fight. Paalam Ma’am Sally at Maraming Salamat.”

According to her 2018 profile at the PPS, Gatchalian was 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.”

She was also known as the sister of noontime TV host Ruby Rodriguez who took to Instagram to mourn the death of her sister she fondly called “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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