Pakistan's answer to Mother Teresa, Ruth Pfau, dies

11 August, 2017, 00:26 | Author: Lorraine Moran
  • Pakistan       by Mahmood Idrees | Published

Dr Ruth Pfau, who is commonly known as "Mother Teresa" of Pakistan for her extensive battle against leprosy, passed away on Thursday after a long illness.

For the past 57 years, she treated leprosy patients after coming from Germany in 1960, and earned Pakistani nationality in 1988.

In collaboration with the government Pfau expanded leprosy treatment centres in more than 150 cities and towns across Pakistan, training doctors, treating thousands of victims and helping establish a national programme to bring the disease under control. The President said she made Pakistan her homeland and her services will always be remembered.

It was because of her efforts that the World Health Organization declared Pakistan one of the first countries in Asia to be free from leprosy.

"Dr Pfau's services to end leprosy in Pakistan can not be forgotten".

"We are like a Pakistani marriage", Pfau told the BBC of her occasionally strained collaboration with state officials.

The President said the whole Pakistani nation salutes Dr Pfau for her exemplary services for the country. The country's Dawn newspaper reports that a year ago, just 531 patients were in treatment for leprosy nationwide - down from 19,398 in the early 1980s.

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Her death drew messages of condolences from all sections of Pakistani society, with many comparing her passing to that of the philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, who passed away previous year.

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

In 1979, she was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian award of the country.

Soon after the announcement of her death, homage began pouring in from the Pakistani authorities.

Saddened to learn of Dr Ruth Pfau's passing.

The Prime Minister, in his message, said she came to Pakistan at the dawn of a young nation looking to make lives better for those afflicted by the disease.

Due to her efforts, Pakistan became one of the first countries in Asia to be declared free of leprosy in 1966.

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