Dr Ruth Pfau passes away

Dr Ruth Pfau ” Pakistani Mother Teresa” has passed away

Dr Ruth Pfau, a German religious woman, who devoted her life to treating leprosy patients in Pakistan, passed on at 4 am today.

Dr Pfau first visited Pakistan in 1960 and was so touched by the plight of leprosy victims that she made a decision to stay forever in the country to treat them.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi on Thursday has announced a state funeral for the messiah of Pakistani lepers Dr. Ruth Pfau who passed away at a Karachi hospital on Thursday.

Pfau, who died Thursday at the age of 87, soon returned to Karachi after her brief stint in India. He said that the glorious tradition of serving humanity set by Dr Ruth Pfau will be continued.

From the early 1960s on, Pfau helped lead the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre, transforming what was once a tiny makeshift dispensary into the hub for a system of 157 medical centers across the country, often in remote regions. In 1979, the Pakistani government appointed her Federal Advisor on Leprosy to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The country's Dawn newspaper reports that past year, just 531 patients were in treatment for leprosy nationwide - down from 19,398 in the early 1980s.

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Later she joined a Catholic order and eventually came to Pakistan in 1960.

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. 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.

She was honoured with the second highest civilian award, Hilal-i-Imtiaz, and Hilal-i-Pakistan in 1979 and 1980 respectively.

Saddened to learn of Dr Ruth Pfau's passing. 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. She was likewise granted with the Staufer Medal.

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