Dr Ruth Pfau’s Birthday 2019: A German physician and a nun, Dr Ruth Katharina Martha Pfau dedicated her life to eradicating leprosy in Pakistan. On her 90th birthday on 9 September, the world remembered her for her selfless contribution towards affected people. Famously addressed as “Pakistan’s Mother Teresa”, she was born in Leipzig in 1929. Arriving in Karachi in 1960 en route India, Pfau volunteered at a local leprosy colony and became a member of the Society of Daughters of the Heart of Mary.
While in Karachi, she became depressed at the state of the care given to patients. After interacting with the patients she ultimately decided to dedicate her life to help the affected leprosy patients in Pakistan.
Pfau’s contribution to Pakistan
Due to her continuous efforts, the World Health Organisation declared Pakistan a leprosy free country in 1996. With that, the country became one of the first countries in Asia to be free of leprosy.
The clinics she founded helped treat over 56,780 people from the disease. She also provided training to doctors to tackle the disease and helped Pakistan establish a national programme for bringing this disease under control.
Her organisation currently runs over 150 leprosy control centres, with more than 800 staff members, according to MALC. At 87, the renowned she died on 10 August after spending 57 years to working to eradicate leprosy in Pakistan
Recognition and awards:
Pfau was 29 when she landed in Karachi for the first time. She was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz — Pakistan’s second-highest civilian award — in 1979 and the Hilal-e-Pakistan in 1989. She was also awarded the Staufer Medal at the German consulate Karachi in 2015.
Updated Date: Sep 10, 2019 14:34:57 IST