Dr Ruth Pfau, a German nun, who dedicated her life to treating leprosy patients in Pakistan, died at 4 am today.
She was admitted to the Agha Khan Hospital on Wednesday where she lost her life at the age of 87.
Dr Ruth Pfau – the founder of National Leprosy Control Programme in Pakistan – was just 29 when she came to this country. When she saw the first glimpse of leprosy in 1958, she decided it was her calling and stayed in the country.
“I could have left Pakistan earlier if I wanted to but I will stay here,” said Dr Pfau.
She spent the last 50 years of her life working to make the lives of leprosy patients better.
She Lived it Right
Dr Ruth Pfau founded the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center. It started with Karachi. In the next few years, the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center opened more branches in all other provinces of the country, including in Gilgit-Baltistan.
These centers have saved the lives of over 50,000 people to date.
She found peace and contentment in the lives she saved when she traveled across the country. Owing to her efforts, in 1996, Pakistan was regarded as one of the first countries to have controlled leprosy.
She did not limit her efforts to treating leprosy patients but was also of immense help when Sindh faced severe flooding.
The nun received the honorary awards of Hilal-e-Pakistan in 1989 and Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 1979 from the government of Pakistan.
She was also awarded with the Staufer Medal – the highest award of the German state of Baden-Württemberg – by the German consul-general to acknowledge the work she has done in putting a stop to leprosy.
“I have worked hard with my team to eradicate leprosy in Pakistan, our hard work could not completely eliminate this disease but at least we managed to decrease it,” she said.
Love From All Over the World
Dr Ruth received love and condolences from all over the world.
On hearing the sad news of her demise, President Mamnoon Hussain expressed his grief and 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.”
There were numerous tweets expressing love for the Mother Teresa of Pakistan.
Saddened to learn of Dr Ruth Pfau's passing. Her spirit of selfless dedication leaves a void that will be difficult to fill.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 10, 2017
Dr Ruth Pfau was THE Dr Ruth Pfau of Pakistan. A Pakistani Hero who will live on in our history and hearts. Rest In Peace & #ThankYouRuth
— Shaniera Akram (@iamShaniera) August 10, 2017
Dr. Ruth Pfau served this nation selflessly for 50 years. We will never forget her services and she will live in our hearts forever! pic.twitter.com/RS1tiXzFMx
— Ali Imtiaz Waraich (@Ali_Waraich_PTI) August 10, 2017
Really sorry to hear about Dr Ruth Pfau.. What an incredible life she lived in the service of suffering humanity! She will be dearly missed.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) August 10, 2017
Dr Ruth Pfau helped &looked after some of the most marginalised in Pakistani society.We should all take up her mantle. May she rest in peace
— Aseefa B Zardari (@AseefaBZ) August 10, 2017
Her funeral will be held on August 19 in St Patrick’s Cathedral, at 11 am. She will be laid to rest in the Christian Cemetery.