Mother Teresa' of Pakistan



passes away

Dr Ruth Pfau, who devoted her whole life for Pakistan's lepers, passed away. The founder of National Leprosy Control Programme in Pakistan was ill and admitted to a local hospital. Dr Pfau, 87, was admitted to the ICU of a private hospital after her health deteriorated. The doctor of German descent had been feeling unwell since weeks and her doctors were not very hopeful. Ruth Pfau came to Pakistan in 1960s and dedicated her life to taking care of leprosy patients. It was due to endless struggle of Dr Pfau that Pakistan defeated the disease and became free from leprosy in 1996. She has been running a leprosy centre and was in charge of Mary Adelaide Society of Pakistan, where leprosy patients are treated. She was granted Pakistani citizenship in 1988 and received numerous accolades for her services. Dr. Ruth, 87, is also known as the 'Mother Teresa' of Pakistan. The Lady belonged to Germany and spent her 50 years of life in Pakistan fighting against the Leprosy disease and eventually put an end to it in our country. Dr Ruth Pfau was born in Germany on September 9th, 1929 in Leipzig. In 1950s, she studied medicine in the University of Mainz and Marburg in West Germany. She was sent on a Mission Station to India but due to some problems of visa, she landed up in Karachi, Pakistan, where she was introduced to leprosy work. On her first visit to I.I Chundrigar to look after the Leprosy patients, she decided to join the group and helped the effected Leprosy patients in Karachi. In 1965, Dr. Ruth and Zarina Fazelbhoy (Pakistani Dermatologist) initiated the training program for paramedical workers. Further in 1971, with the cooperation with provincial government, she did treatment of the Leprosy affected areas including Sindh, Balochistan, NWFP (Now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Northern areas and Azad Kashmir to vanish the disease by travelling every corner of the country. Later, in 1979, she became the Federal Advisor on Leprosy to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Government of Pakistan. By 1996, she was successful in controlling the Leprosy in Pakistan. Dr. Pfau's extraordinary personality, served Pakistan in the best way, who was rewarded with various awards to remark her outstanding presence in the country. Dr Pfau would sell some of her awards in exchange for money for her patients. The awards meant nothing to her if her patients were suffering. Dr Pfau was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 1979 and Hilal-e-Pakistan in 1989. People from across the world expressed their condolences and paid tribute to Dr Ruth Pfau.
Expressing grief over the demise of Dr Pfau, President Mamnoon Hussain said, "Dr Pfau's services to end leprosy in Pakistan cannot be forgotten. She left her homeland and made Pakistan her home to serve humanity. Pakistani nation salutes Dr Pfau and her great tradition to serve humanity will be continued."Paying tribute to her services, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, "Dr Ruth Pfau may have been born in Germany, her heart was always in Pakistan. She came here at the dawn of a young nation looking to make lives better for those afflicted by disease, and in doing so, found herself a home. We will remember her for her courage, her loyalty, her service to the eradication of leprosy, and most of all, her patriotism. The German diplomatic mission in the city and the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) on Thursday condoled the death of Dr Ruth Pfau, lovingly called the Mother Teresa of Pakistan, and showered eulogies on her for her lifelong quest to turn Pakistan into a leprosy-free country. The consulate general of Germany in Karachi expressed deep sorrow on the passing away of Dr Pfau, who founded the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre (MALC) in Karachi and spent her entire life in serving humanity. A statement issued by the German mission called her the mastermind behind Pakistan's national leprosy control programme. The PMA's central and Karachi office-bearers and senior members on met at the PMA House, Karachi, where they condoled Dr Pfau's death and paid glowing tribute to her for spending her life caring for some of the country's poorest people."Her demise has extremely saddened the whole nation. Dr Pfau was by birth a German, yet, she devoted her life to treat the patients of leprosy in Pakistan," said Dr Qaiser Sajjad, secretary general of the PMA. The meeting eulogized her selfless services with dedication and commitment for such a long time, which resulted in changing the lives of thousands of leprosy sufferers across the country. They said her long struggle had almost eradicated the deadly disease from the country. "It is a big loss for the country and for those who still want her loving care," said a statement issued by the PMA. The PMA officials prayed for the departed soul; the gathering decided that they would organize a full reference for her next week. Mayor Wasim Akhtar expressed his shock over Dr Pfau's death, saying the vacuum created by her death was not easy to fill. The German-born Pakistani doctor played a crucial role in dispelling misgivings about leprosy and its patients and ensuring their proper treatment and rehabilitation. Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi announced that a state funeral would be held on August 19 in recognition of her services.