Pakistan’s ‘Mother Teresa’ Dr Ruth Pfau passes away in Karachi

Pakistan’s ‘Mother Teresa’ Dr Ruth Pfau passes away in Karachi

Dr Ruth Pfau dedicated 50 years of her life fighting against the Leprosy disease in Pakistan

Dr Ruth Pfau, know as the ‘Mother Teresa’ of Pakistan and saviour of Pakistan’s leprosy patients, passed away at the age of 87 in Karachi while she was undergoing surgery.

Pakistanis are mourning the death of Dr Ruth Pfau, a symbol of selflessness, devotion, who helped defeat leprosy disease from Pakistan.

Dr. Ruth Katharina Martha Pfau was a German doctor and nun. She was born on September 9, 1929 in Leipzig, Germany.

Pakistan's 'Mother Teresa' Dr Ruth Pfau

Dr Ruth Pfau treating patients in Pakistan. Photo by DAHW

She came to Pakistan in the 1960s and never went back, dedicating 50 years of her life in Pakistan fighting against the Leprosy disease. She is widely hailed as the messiah of disfigured and suffering leprosy patients.

Dr Pfau with the Staufer Medal in gold

Dr Pfau with the Staufer Medal in gold

She trained Pakistani doctors and attracted foreign donations, founding Pakistan’s National Leprosy Control Programme and the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre.

In result of her endless and remarkable struggle, Pakistan was declared Leprosy-free in 1996 by World Health Organization.

“Every Patient is a life story, and we enjoyed helping them all”, she said speaking at the Qissa Khwani talk at the PACC in 2014.

She was granted Pakistani citizenship in 1988. Dr Ruth Pfau received numerous accolades for her services by Government of Pakistan including Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 1979, Hilal-e-Pakistan in 1989, Life-time Achievement Award from the President of Pakistan in 2006 and the German Staufer Medal in 2015.

The funeral prayers of Dr Ruth Pfau will be held on August 19th at St Patrick’s Church, said the obituary by MASP Chief Executive Mervyn Lobo.

Obituary Ruth Pfau

She was also praised for her efforts in helping the victims of devastating floods in Pakistan in 2010.

She has also penned four books in German about her work in Pakistan, including ‘To Light a Candle: Reminiscences and Reflections of Dr. Ruth Pfau.

Tributes pour in for Dr Ruth Pfau

Pakistani nation paid rich tributes to Dr Ruth Pfau on her remarkable achievements in rescuing and treating lepers for more than 50 years in Pakistan.

Pakistani 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” he said paying tribute to her services.

Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussein praised her relentless services for Pakistanis.

“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” the President said.

In a statement, German Embassy Islamabad said: “All staff members of the German embassy are deeply saddened to hear about Dr Ruth Pfau passing away. She was a symbol of selflessness and devotion to leprosy patients.”

Renowned Pakistani personalities also shared their thoughts about ‘Mother Teresa’ of Pakistan.

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