National News

From Leipzig to Pakistan – the tremendous services of Ruth Pfau

—————————————–Pakistani mother Teresa is no more———————————————-dr-ruth-katherina-martha-pfau

Karachi: Dr. Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau  breathed her last here in Karachi aged 88 years after a protracted illness. Hailed as mother Teresa of Pakistan, she was suffering from several health problems due to her old age including heart disease for which she was being treated for quite some time. She has been in and out of the hospital since December because of fractured arm and was put on a ventilator when her conditions worsened. She died in a local hospital when she declined to go on life-support.

Dr Ruth a German-Pakistani doctor who dedicated her life to helping leprosy patients in Pakistan and is one of the founders of Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre (MALC) and a member of the Society of Daughters of the Heart of Mary who had devoted the last 50 years of life to fighting leprosy in Pakistan. In 1996, Pakistan was declared by the World Health Organization to have controlled leprosy, one of the first countries in Asia to achieve this goal

Dr. Pfau was born in Leipzig, Germany on 9 September 1929. She had four sisters and one brother. After World War II when the Russians occupied East Germany she escaped to West Germany along with her family and chose medicine as her future career. In 1949 she studied medicine at Mainz. She was not satisfied with her life. She wanted to do something more: She joined a Catholic order and eventually came to Pakistan.

In 1960 Ruth decided to dedicate the rest of her life to the people of Pakistan and their battle against Leprosy outbreaks. She came to Karachi and visited a leprosy colony on McLeod Road behind the City Railway Station. Here she decided that the care of patients would be her life’s calling. She started with medical treatment for the Leprosy patients in a hut in this slums. The Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre was founded and social work for the leprosy patients and their family members was started by Dr. I. K. Gill. A Leprosy Clinic was bought in April 1963 and patients from all over Karachi, Pakistan, and even from Afghanistan came for treatment.

Since that time the work grew fast and small treatment centres were established in Karachi and all over Pakistan, training for paramedical workers and social workers were given and health education started to get over prejudices and fear. Dr. Pfau went to the far off areas of Pakistan where there were no medical facilities for leprosy patients. She collected donations in Germany and Pakistan and cooperated with hospitals in Rawalpindi and Karachi. In recognition of her service to the country, she was awarded Pakistani citizenship in 1988.

Ruth Pfau is recognised in Pakistan and abroad as a distinguished human being and was awarded many prizes and medals. Sister Ruth Pfau was among recipients of civilian awards at President’s House on Pakistan Day 23 March 1989. Sister Pfau received the Hilal-i-Pakistan award for her work with leprosy patients.

On 14 August 2010, the President of Pakistan awarded the highest civil award of Nishan-i-Quaid-i-Azam to Dr. Pfau in recognition of her public service. 

August 17, 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Dental is part of the Medical News Group of publications which in 1968 became the pioneer of medical journalism in Pakistan. Medical News is the only periodical in Pakistan which has 3 simultaneous editions from Karachi, Islamabad and online.

For Subscription