Benjamin Cabrera

 

Filipino scientist Benjamin Cabrera is one person that really deserves a pat on the back because not only is he a physician but he is also known for his works on public health and medical parasitology. He is a scientist that never seems to run out of ideas and uses his brain to bring advances solutions to problems. He has had a lot of achievements and while most of the have been significant, there are some works of his that just really stand out and are still significant and in use up until today. He boasts more than a hundred scientific publications to his name. His specialities were focused on public health and parasitology and this is where he did a lot of work and introduced a lot of breakthroughs in. It is important to note that he made his discoveries and breakthroughs during a time when technology wasn’t yet too advanced and yet he managed and excelled and made some of the most ground-breaking breakthroughs and innovations in his chosen field and speciality.

His Life

Dr. Benjamin Cabrera was born on March 18, 1920 and enrolled in the University of the Philippines in 1945 when he was about 25. This was where and when he got his medical degree after which he decided to pursue further studies in the US and enrolled at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. This was where he studied for and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health. He majored in Public Health and Parasitology. He finished with this schooling in 1950.

Dr. Cabrera was quite prolific and published more than a hundred studies that on medical parasitology and public health. Not only did he write and publish his findings but he also made some very important innovations that changed the way diseases from mosquitoes were treated. He also made headway into developing treatments for parasite-infested agricultural soil. Seeing as his native country relied heavily in agriculture, his findings and innovations brought a lot of benefits to his homeland and alleviate a lot of their problems with land and parasites.

11 years after he graduated with his Master’s Degree, he and a certain Lee M. Howard conducted the very first study that focused on simian malaria. The study was conducted in the Philippines where they found that 8.6% of the animals they tested had malaria. The study was admittedly somewhat limited but it did show significant findings and suggested that the cases of simian malaria weren’t really all that significant and didn’t pose a real threat to the Filipino population.

His works were all significant but one stood out above the rest and it was about the study he conducted on filariasis which is an infectious and parasitic tropical disease that is brought about by infestations of thread-like nematode worms that belong to the Filariodea family. Dr, Cabrera’s work on this tropical disease is what garnered him the Philippine Legion of Honor which was a Presidential Award back in the year 1996. In his study, he came to know the life cycles and the epidemiology of these parasites and that was how he figured out how to come up with drug treatments that were necessary in keeping people safe from the disease. He also figured out ways in which people can stay free of the mosquitoes that spread the parasites that lead to the disease. The country was in danger of an epidemic from the mosquitoes and the disease they carried and his study was the one thing that saved them all from disaster. His work didn’t just garner him a prestigious award but it also saved a lot of his country-men from developing the disease so it as indeed an award that he truly deserved.

Aside from his work with filariasis, Dr. Cabrera also invested in some time in figuring out a way to control ascariasis which is a disease humans get by way of parasitic roundworms. He conducted some studies and with the results, he was able to come up with a model that allowed people to reduce the hazards brought about by the helminths that were found on the soil. His study also touched on how the parasites could be reduced and until today, the measures he introduced are still in place.

Significance of his Works

Seeing as the Philippines is both a tropical and agricultural country, it just makes sense that his works and innovations were considered innovative and ground-breaking. They really changed the way people lived and the quality of their lives. His findings gave the people and government a fighting chance to defend themselves against the many parasites that plagues them.

Of course, his studies and breakthroughs weren’t just important to the Filipino people since they were used in other tropical and agricultural countries as well. Many countries in the tropics made use of his findings to protect their own citizens from the same diseases and infestations. It just goes to show how significant his studies and breakthroughs were since they are still considered important up until today. Of course, there are other breakthroughs since then but these breakthroughs were all based on his studies.

Dr. Cabrera was a man before his time and because his work is proof of his forward-thinking ways. There is no telling want could have happened if Dr. Cabrera didn’t make the findings that he did when he did because the health of a whole country would have been at stake. At the time of his death, he was remembered as one of the most important and prolific Filipino scientists of his time and is being honoured in his alma mater up until today. These days, it is not rare for his works to be cited in more modern studies because he was very thorough. Any modern vaccines and measures taken against the parasites and diseases he studied before look back to his own works. Truly, this is a world-class scientist that did his best to bring honour not just to family but also to his country.