Pakistan's 'Light to the Lepers' Ruth Pfau dies

Dr Ruth Pfau was the ‘Messiah’ for leprosy patients in Pakistan

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.

She arrived in Pakistan, where she spent the rest of her life, in 1960. After her graduation she joined the religious order fo the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, which sent her on mission to India.

President Mamnoon Hussain paid tribute to Dr. Pfau saying she had done an "unforgettable" job in eliminating leprosy in the country. On her way she stopped in Karachi on March 8, 1960, because of some visa problems.

Born in Leipzig, Germany on September 9, 1929, Dr Pfau devoted the last 50 years of life to fighting leprosy in Pakistan.

It was due to the endless struggle of Dr Pfau that Pakistan defeated the disease and became leprosy-free in 1996. It is the most elevated honor of the German territory of Baden-Württemberg - by the German delegate general to recognize the work she has done in putting a stop to leprosy. She didn't confine her endeavors to treating leprosy patients but at the same time was of colossal help when Sindh confronted serious flooding.

Sr. Pfau has won numerous honours and prizes in Pakistan and overseas for her humanitarian services. After World War II, when Russian Federation occupied East Germany, she and her family, including a brother and four sisters, escaped to West Germany.

She was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian award of the country in 1979 for her commendable services. With the partnership of the Pakistani government, Pfau developed the country's National Leprosy Control Programme and extended her efforts to include treatments for blindness and tuberculosis.

Dr Pfau had been hospitalized at a private hospital in Karachi for two weeks due to age-related illnesses, where her condition had been worsening.

The last rite of Sr. Her burial service will be on August 19 in St Patrick's Cathedral, at 11 am.

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