Albino Aroso

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 24 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1945
  1. Débora Miranda, London
  1. debora.miranda{at}

Champion of women’s health in Portugal

Albino Aroso lost his father at the age of 7, and it was his mother who inspired him to stand for women’s rights. “We live in a society where men think that the womb and ovaries belong to humanity, but the breasts and vagina are theirs,” he once said. Aroso lived through the right wing dictatorship that ruled Portugal for more than 40 years. A Catholic himself, he challenged the powerful forces of the Church and the State to support women with young children.

After graduating, Aroso—the only doctor in Canidelo, the small farming village in the north of Portugal where he and his five siblings grew up—started visiting his patients by bicycle. His interest in gynaecology developed as he began to treat women after abortion—a practice that would not become legal until 2007, after a campaign that Aroso himself strongly supported.

In 1955 Aroso became the first doctor in Portugal to specialise in gynaecology, and he led the …

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