Karachi, Pakistan 10 August 2017 (Anadolu News)
Dr. Ruth Pfau, a German doctor, who led the fight against leprosy in Pakistan died on Wednesday, she was 87.
President Mamnoon Hussain paid tribute to Dr. Pfau saying she had done an “unforgettable” job in eliminating leprosy in the country.
In his condolence message, Hussain said that Dr. Pfau had left her homeland and settled in Pakistan to serve humanity. “The people of Pakistan salute her unforgettable services, and her legacy will continue to flourish,” he added.
Faisal Edhi, the head of Edhi Foundation, a leading humanitarian organization established by renowned social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi in 1951, praised Dr. Pfau, calling her “a great person, a selfless health worker, and a leading humanitarian”.
“She dedicated herself for elimination of leprosy in Pakistan,” Edhi told Anadolu Agency. “The people of Pakistan will never forget their sister. They will remember her as they remember Abdul Sattar Edhi. We salute her for her memorable services in health sector for the people of Pakistan.”
The Pakistan government recognized her selfless service by awarding her the country’s second-highest civilian award ‘Hilal-i-Imtiaz’ in 1979, and later ‘Hilal-e-Pakistan’ in 1989.
A devout Christian, she had come to Muslim-dominated Pakistan in 1960, which she made her home for the next 57 years. She was granted Pakistan’s citizenship in 1988.
She began her fight against leprosy in the days when this disease was thought to be contagious, and families would throw lepers out of their homes.
Her commitment won her the pet name of Pakistan’s Mother Teresa.
The Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center is the first private leprosy center in Pakistan. It registers 500 leprosy cases every year, hospital officials said.
Dr. Pfau was undergoing treatment for the past two weeks at the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre, which she had founded in 1960 in the commercial capital Karachi, local broadcaster Dawn News reported.
Her last rites will be performed at Karachi’s Saint Patrick’s Church on Aug. 19.