Medicine

'Light to the Lepers' Ruth Pfau dies in Pakistan

'Light to the Lepers' Ruth Pfau dies in Pakistan

Hailing from Germany, Dr Pfau had been staying in Pakistan since 1960, when she was just 29, dedicating her life to cure patients of leprosy.

"Dr Ruth came to Pakistan 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", Abbasi said, praising her courage and services.

She has been running a leprosy centre and was in charge of Mary Adelaide Society of Pakistan, where leprosy patients are treated.

Dr Ruth Pfau passed away early Thursday morning after a long illness at the age of 87.

She started to set up clinics across Pakistan after visiting the country in 1960 and witnessing leprosy for the first time.

The Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center is the first private leprosy center in Pakistan.

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"We are like a Pakistani marriage", Pfau told the BBC of her occasionally strained collaboration with state officials.

Pfau served as an adviser to the Pakistani government for the eradication of leprosy between 1975 and 1980. By 1996, the World Health Organization declared that leprosy had been controlled in Pakistan. She became known as the Mother Theresa of Pakistan, a reference to Mother Theresa of India, the nun and missionary who became a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.

In 2010, she was awarded Pakistan's high civil honor, the Nishan-i-Quaid-i-Azam, for public service.

Her death drew messages of condolences from all sections of Pakistani society, with many comparing her passing to that of the philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, who passed away previous year.

Tributes are pouring in for a German nun who spent more than half a century in Pakistan battling leprosy and helping the country's most vulnerable people. "We owe u a debt of gratitude Dr Ruth Pfau". She was being sent to a Mission Station in India by her Congregation but due to some visa problems she broke journey in Karachi and here she was introduced to the leprosy work.


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