On November 9, 1920, the late Dr. Jose Fabella, then the Chairman of the Public Welfare Board founded a six (6) bed maternity clinic called ‘the Maternity house’ which was originally located at Isabel St. Sampaloc, Manila. With the creation of the Public Welfare Commission, the control and operation of the clinic was taken over by the said office in 1921. In the year 1922, the clinic expanded by creating a pediatric section and the school of midwifery was opened turning out its first graduates of ten (10) midwives the following year. In 1931, the control and supervision of the clinic was transferred to the Bureau of Health and then to the Bureau of Hospitals in 1947, which is now the Bureau of Medical Services. The School of Midwifery was later on designated as a training hospital under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Secretary of Health.
Through the efforts of then Secretary of Health Antonio Villarama in 1951, the hospital move to its present site at Lope de Vega, Manila occupying the Administrative building of the old Bilibid Compound. It was rehabilitated and another floor was added to put it in condition for the operation of a modern Maternity Children Hospital, from funds appropriated by the Congress of the Philippines made possible by former Director of Hospitals Dr. Tranquilino Elicano, Sr. The name of the hospital was changed on November 9, 1968 to Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital.