The Google Doodle for 9 September 2019 remembers Dr Ruth Pfau on her birth anniversary, a German physician born in 1929 who was dedicated to eradicating leprosy in Pakistan and has been dubbed 'Pakistan's Mother Teresa'. It shows an animated Dr Pfau caring after a leprosy patient. Google has also released designs commemorating her in earlier years.
At the age of 29, Dr Pfau had met a concentration camp survivor which coaxed her into becoming a nun. After witnessing the sights at a leper colony in Pakistan, she reportedly said: "I could not believe that humans could live in such conditions".
She was on her way to India but caught up in Pakistan over visa issues. There, she visited the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Clinic in Karachi, which proved to be a life-changing trip for her. One patient in particular, crawling into the clinic on his hands and feet, caught her attention and dismayed her. "He must have been my age — I was at this time not yet 30 — and he crawled on hands and feet into this dispensary, acting as if this was quite normal".
Stirred by all the sights she witnessed, Dr Pfau started raising funds to upgrade the clinic, and over time, built a network of over 150 medical centres including homes for the handicapped and workshops for artificial limb manufacture. She also started Pakistan's first Leprosy Technicians' course in 1965, to educate against the stigma surrounding the disease. As a result of her efforts, the World Health Organisation declared leprosy as under control in 1965, much before other Asian countries. She received much praise for her efforts and is often compared to Mother Teresa.
Updated Date: Sep 09, 2019 10:15:51 IST