It is 1925 when Arvo Ylppö (1887–1992) is appointed Professor of Pediatrics and Chief Physician of the Department of Pediatrics at Helsinki General Hospital. There is no problem in the fact that the successful man is already the chief physician of Lastenlinna and the chairman of the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare.
Fifteen percent of children treated in a cramped hospital on Tehtaankatu die, usually from diarrhea, tuberculosis, pneumonia, or “congenital weakness”. The research instruments are a stethoscope and a thermometer. There are no antibiotics, no sulfide medications or an X-ray machine.
But Ylpä has a goal: Finland must have one of the best children's health care systems in the world. He has already gained international recognition and lacks the faith to succeed. When counseling began, infant mortality began to decline.
Nursing home nurses and chief physician Arvo Ylppö in 1921.
Photo: Helsinki City Museum
Chief Physician Ylppö is nimble in his movements and thoughts. At 1.54 meters, he has to look up at his subordinates, but that doesn’t bother him at all. He does not care to emphasize his prestige.
Some years earlier, a professor had arranged a dinner at his home in honor of Ylpö. The pride went to the scene punctually, even though, as usual, he had to arrive half an hour late.
- It is not given to a beggar here, go your way, the lady adjusted when she saw a little man in her worn Berber at the door.
The professor then called where the party was staying.
- Yes, I went there, but was not counted, Ylppö said.
As a young doctor, Ylppö deepened his knowledge in Berlin at the research institute of the Auguste Victoria Haus Children's Hospital in Kaiser. In 1913, a dissertation on neonatal jaundice and biliary excretion was born.
Ylppö conducted significant preterm studies and found that the deaths of premature babies were usually due to illness. It was long thought that premature babies would die because of their weight and immaturity. “The Lord gave, the Lord took,” thought.
- My Life My greatest satisfaction I have experienced researcher, scientists, kuinkakin out in describing even a small problem, Ylppö said in Helsingin Sanomat in an interview with the centenary.
In Germany, Ylppö spent almost ten years as a researcher and doctor. He was the second in the world to receive the Hebner Award, Germany’s most prestigious medical recognition.
He didn’t know he would travel the world even a hundred years old to perform.
Pride defined premature babies: those under 2.5 pounds need special treatment.
In Germany, for example, Ylppö, who did premature research, returned to his homeland in 1920 - fortunately. There was an emergency in Finland: almost a tenth of infants died, many of them premature. As chairman of the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, he began immediately in 1920 and the following year he was appointed chief physician of the Children's Castle.
The Children's Castle is also honored by Baroness Sophie Mannerheim, who initiated the 1920 Child Welfare Organization led by her brother, General Gustaf Mannerheim.
In 1918, Sophie established a shelter for single mothers on Helsinki's Second Line, which in 1921 became MLL's teaching hospital Children's Palace, where Ylppö wanted to provide care for everyone.
In Germany, Ylppö was excited about the hospital-based reception, where mothers were given childcare instruction. Movies about breastfeeding had also been shown in cinemas.
The active Ylppö organized a counseling system in the union and in 1922 opened its own counseling center in the children's cellar, which was renovated.
The first Prime Minister of Independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, visited the Children's Palace Hospital in 1957 under the guidance of Arvo Ylpö.
Milk drop stations according to the French idea had already been established in poor Kallio. Infant mortality finally began to decline. The Finnish counseling center is a success story.
Counselors were first obtained in the cities. The first rural council came to Toijala in the proud birthplace of Ylpo. The authorities became involved in maternity counseling in 1926 in Helsinki and Vyborg. The Child and Maternity Counseling Act was enacted in 1944.
The work of the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare for children swelled like bun dough, thanks to Arvo Ylpön. The association trained nannies, health sisters, and school nurses. Children's events were organized because Ylpö thought the children had to have fun.
After the wars, various child protection organizations established the Children's Day Foundation, whose task was to maintain Linnanmäki.
Ylppö traveled around the country setting up union subdivisions and sharing information on childcare. He carried wax dolls with him, with which he illustrated the diseases of children. Among them were e.g. wax dolls representing milkweed, rice disease and malformed children.
- Hardly anyone would have come to listen to me if I hadn't had a children's exhibition with me, Ylppö stated in the memoir of the Voice of Man series (1979).
The work did not always produce quick results. More than just guts were needed to develop children's health care - medicines, for example. So Ylppö started developing them in the 1920s in a small fist workshop on Mariankatu. The development work was successful. His family is still one of the largest owners of the Orion pharmaceutical company.
In the midst of it all, Ylppö began decades of work to get new hospital buildings. The children's clinic was completed in 1946, the new building of the children's castle in 1948.
In My Life with Small and Large, Ylppö tells of one brake for building: According to Minister of the Interior Urho Kekkonen, the children's hospital could not be built at the same time as the 1940 Olympics.
Then came the Winter War, not the sports competitions. “If Ylppö did not get to his hospital then, then Kekkonen did not get his Olympics either,” the book states.
Auringonpoja's health boot (1925), written by Ylpö, was a sales success. The basic guideline was: eat everything. Ylppö considered food restrictions a fad.
Proud himself loved delicacies and did not like the use of sugar. He always put ten pieces of sugar in the coffee.
Ylppö considered exercise and gymnastics important. He skied himself but loved playing cards more.
That's what he sang if you missed a meal.
- No regularity has ever been part of my lifestyle, Ylppö has stated.
In the video below, an old documentary from Arvo Ylpö found in Yle's Living Archive.
Proudly considered strictly regular lifestyles even dangerous, as a body stuck in formulas may not be flexible in unexpected situations. In the 1920s, he thought he made a mistake in teaching that an infant should have regular meal times between which the baby only gets water.
- Children are different. No formula should be slavishly followed, Ylppö stated in the memoir The Voice of Man.
Corporal punishment was common in the 1920s and long after. The pride even considered it desirable to have a “small slap” on a child who defies prohibitions.
- It is now generally accepted that a child is a lord and a nobility, Ylppö said back in the 1970s.
According to the proud, the most important thing for the child was the love of the mother, and the father could not offer the child the same intimacy.
Ylppö also emphasized the importance of exercise. He was still old on the trails of Lapland. However, his biggest passion seems to be playing screw.
In his writings, Ylppö urged schools to invest in girls ’“ sweet exercise ”. The girls ’gymnastics classes were stiff for him. Some were horrified: Jestas, Ylppö wants girls to flirt.
“Man also manifests himself by moving,” Ylppö sharpened.
Ylppö terrified mothers in the 1920s when she organized “infant gymnastics” at the Children's Castle. The babies ’tight pieces were used to opening only when the diaper was changed.
The lucky. At the beginning of the 20th century, 17 out of 100 babies in Helsinki died before their one-year anniversary.
Photo: Helsinki City Museum
There are a lot of stories about a doctor’s sense of humor. Once, a mother wondered to Ylpä the ugliness of her child. Ylppö spoke to the mother about the importance of the beauty and health of the soul. When the calmed lady left, Ylppö shouted, "And take that little monkey with you!"
- The mothers were terrified when I took the baby to my reception, for example, from only one leg and hung my head down. After all, that child was also in her mother's womb, Ylppö said when Irma Heydemann interviewed her for a memoir.
At the age of one hundred, Ylppö stated in Helsingin Sanomat:
- If I relax, I'll rust.
He did not relax even at a young age. Admittedly, Proud had more time than the others, for he slept only a five-hour night's sleep. He worked from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. — almost to the end.
Pride was at his own reception in the afternoons after his hospital work. In the evenings he did teaching and research work and sometimes also home visits. It was important for him to see his pediatric patients also at home, which was miserable for some.
- A pediatrician who does not make home visits is not a real pediatrician, he stated.
Ylppö also made autopsies and wondered why so few doctors are interested in autopsies, where you can often learn something new about diseases.
When she married nurse Marjatta Wegelius in 1925, Ylppö was 37 years old. The reason for the prolongation of her bachelor's life, she said, was the time-consuming research work. First-time Heikki was born in 1926 and Kaisa was born in 1927.
The father increased Heikki's son's muscle tone with gymnastics. He took the baby Heikki into the cold air at the age of ten days. The common belief was that the frost would destroy the baby, but Ylppö knew otherwise.
When the nurses of Lastenlinna took small patients disguised as frost in the 1920s at Ylpö's command, the people on the street shouted: “Babies are dying! We call the police! ” It turned out that the babies can handle even in the winter weather. But still foreigners may wonder how Finns “freeze children”.
Value Ylpö's life was not always happy. Marjatta's wife's sensitive mind could not stand when her parents lost their home in the Vuokun Aunus in the war. He committed suicide in 1942.
- Heikki lost my grief years later in a bit of similar circumstances, Ylppö said about the death of his firstborn.
In 1950, Ylppö married Lea Jokelainen (1919–2011), a 32-year-old licentiate in medicine, assistant chief physician. The family had four children: Alli (1951), Into (1952), Jukka (1955) and Seppo (1958). When asked on one occasion who has received treatment as a child according to Ylpö's instructions, Lea's wife also raised her hand.
Ylppö encouraged Finns to have many children. He himself became a father at the age of 71. He then still worked long hours as well.
- It is clear that a nation will die if two people leave one or no children behind, the archaeologist stated.
Arvo Ylppö was 104 years old when he died. Sources: Ylppö: My life with children and adults; The Human Voice: Arvo Ylppö; ylppo.fi