A tireless promoter of children’s health

In summer 1920, Arvo Ylppö, a young paediatrician, returns to Finland from Berlin, where he has gained recognition as a researcher on premature babies. He is shocked by the level of poverty in his home country: the majority of children suffer from malnutrition and, consequently, rickets. In addition, diarrhoeal diseases, pneumonia and many infectious diseases, such as cholera, are alarmingly common.

Ylppö is appointed as a professor of paediatrics. He decides to take action and embarks on an extensive education campaign. He tours Finland with his collection of wax figures that illustrate children’s diseases, and newspapers frequently publish his articles about the significance of prevention.

His greatest achievements include the establishment of a comprehensive network of child health clinics: the first clinic is opened at Children’s Castle, a children’s hospital in Helsinki, in 1922. Ylppö is rewarded for his significant input into Finnish medicine in 1952, when he is awarded the honorary title of Archiater, the highest honorary title granted to a physician by the President of Finland.

Soon after returning to Finland, Ylppö takes an interest in the new pharmaceutical plant in his home country and subscribes for five shares in Orion in a share issue in 1922. He becomes a member of the company’s management board in 1925, which marks the beginning of his almost 50-year period as a member of Orion’s administrative bodies.

“Why did Arvo Ylppö become interested in Orion? It is quite obvious that he fostered the same ideals as the founders of Orion. He wanted to contribute to the development of Finnish drugs while also enhancing Finnish influences on medicine and the economy in general,” said Erkki Leikola, President and CEO of Orion, in 1967, when Ylppö was celebrating his 80th birthday.  

Over the decades, Ylppö was much more than just an administrator for Orion. He was social by nature and, for example, used to invite employees on summer trips to Långören, an island he owned in the Gulf of Finland.