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Web Desk
August 10, 2017

State funeral announced for Dr Ruth Pfau

State funeral announced for Dr Ruth Pfau

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday announced to give a state funeral to the country’s leprosy fighter Dr Ruth Pfau, who passed away at a local hospital in Karachi.

A statement issued from his office said, “The entire nation is indebted to Ruth Pfau for her selfless and unmatched services for the eradication of leprosy. We are proud of her exemplary services and she will remain in our hearts as a shining symbol in times ahead.”

Earlier, Dr Ruth Pfau, 87, the founder of National Leprosy Control Programme in Pakistan, breathed her last at a local hospital in Karachi early Thursday morning.

Last year, world renowned social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi was given a state funeral due to his humanitarian services.

Dr. Ruth was also known as the ‘Mother Teresa’ of Pakistan. The Lady belonged to Germany and spent her 50 years of life in Pakistan fighting against the Leprosy disease and eventually put an end to it in our country.

Early Thursday morning after a prolonged age-related illness and being hospitalized, Dr. Ruth passed away at a private hospital. She was 87.

Her funeral prayers will be held on August 19th at St Patrick’s Church.

Dr. Ruth devoted her 50 years of life in Pakistan. With her remarkable journey, Pakistan was rewarded as the first country from Asia to have control over Leprosy in 1996 by World Health Organization.

“Every Patient is a life story, and we enjoyed helping them all”, she said in her presence at PACC at the Qissa Khwani Talk in 2014.

Dr. Ruth Pfau was born in Germany on September 9th, 1929 in Leipzig. In 1950s, she studied medicine in the University of Mainz and Marburg in West Germany. She was sent on a Mission Station to India but due to some problems of visa, she landed up in Karachi, Pakistan, where she was introduced to leprosy work.

On her first visit to I.I Chundrigar to look after the Leprosy patients, she decided to join the group and helped the effected Leprosy patients in Karachi.

In 1965, Dr. Ruth and Zarina Fazelbhoy (Pakistani Dermatologist) initiated the training program for paramedical workers. Further in 1971, with the cooperation with provincial government, she did treatment of the Leprosy affected areas including Sindh, Balochistan, NWFP (Now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Northern areas and Azad Kashmir to vanish the disease by travelling every corner of the country.

Later, in 1979, she became the Federal Advisor on Leprosy to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Government of Pakistan. And by 1996, she was successful in controlling the Leprosy in Pakistan.

Dr. Pfau’s extraordinary personality, served Pakistan in the best way, who was rewarded with various awards to remark her outstanding presence in the country.

Awards for Dr Ruth Pfau

  • She was awarded the Order of the Cross from Germany in 1968.
  • Awarded Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam by government of Pakistan in 1969.
  • Hilal-e-Imtiaz by government of Pakistan in 1979.
  • The Commanders Cross of the Order of Merit with Star from Germany in 1985.
  • Hilal-e-Pakistan by government of Pakistan in 1989.
  • Damien-Dutton Award from USA in 1991
  • Osterreischische Albert Schweitzer Gasellschaft from Austria in 1991.
  • Ramon Magsaysay Award from Government of Philippines in 2002.
  • The Jinnah Award from the Jinnah Society Pakistan in 2003.
  • ‘In The Name of Allah’ award by Idara Wiqar-e-Adab Pakistan in 2003.
  • Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) from Aga Khan University in 2004.
  • Life-time Achievement Award from the Rotary Club of Karachi in 2004.
  • Marion Doenhoff-Prize, Germany in  2005.
  • Life-time Achievement award from the President of Pakistan in 2006.
  • Woman of the Year 2006 Award by CityFM89
  • Certificate of Appreciation from the Ministry of Health in 2006.
  • Nesvita Women of Strength Awards by TVONE in 2009.
  • Life-time Achievement Khidmat Award by Al-Fikar International in 2009:.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award 2011 presented by the International Schools Educational Olympiad, organised by Karachi High School.
  • LADIESFUND Woman of the Year Award  in 2011.
  • "Nishan-i-Quaid-e-Azam" award presented by the President of Pakistan in 2011.