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Friday May 24, 2024

Mervyn Francis Lobo awarded prestigious German award for his work to end leprosy in Pakistan

By Our Correspondent
April 25, 2024
Mervyn Francis Lobo, chief executive officer of the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre (MALC) can be seen with Dr. Ruth Pfau (late). — Facebook/MarieAdelaideLeprosyCentre
Mervyn Francis Lobo, chief executive officer of the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre (MALC) can be seen with Dr. Ruth Pfau (late). — Facebook/MarieAdelaideLeprosyCentre

Mervyn Francis Lobo, chief executive officer of the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre (MALC), has been awarded the prestigious Cross of Merit with Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The honour was announced by the president of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on March 6, 2024, and was conferred by Dr Ruediger Lotz, the German consul general, during a ceremony held at German Consulate in Karachi on Wednesday.

The Cross of Merit is the highest federal decoration in Germany, awarded to individuals for significant contributions in political, economic, social or intellectual realms, as well as for outstanding service in social, charitable or philanthropic work, an official of the consulate said, adding that Lobo received this accolade for his extensive humanitarian efforts and leadership at MALC.

Speaking at the event, Dr Lotz highlighted Lobo's significant impact on healthcare and leprosy control. “The award for Mervyn Lobo is in recognition of his achievements and the work of MALC, particularly in the fight against leprosy. This is a great example of cooperation between our two countries for the benefit of all.”

The ceremony was attended by several dignitaries, including Sindh’s chief minister and governor. Under Lobo’s leadership, MALC has made considerable strides in healthcare, notably achieving control of leprosy in Pakistan four years ahead of the World Health Organisation's target in 1996, the event was told.

“Following this success, MALC expanded its services to tackle other health challenges such as tuberculosis, prevention of blindness, mother and child healthcare and community-based inclusive development. These initiatives are implemented through a robust network of 157 centres across Pakistan, focusing particularly on underserved areas,” a statement issued by German Consulate Karachi read.

“A recent initiative led by Lobo is the ‘Zero Leprosy Roadmap in Pakistan’, aiming to eliminate the disease by 2030. This plan involves interrupting transmission, addressing stigma, and managing disabilities associated with leprosy,” the statement added.

Furthermore, it said that this recognition from Germany not only honours Lobo's contributions but also symbolizes the enduring healthcare collaboration between Pakistan and Germany. It added that over the years, the partnership has facilitated significant advancements in healthcare through shared expertise, resources and technology.

The Pakistani government has also recognised Lobo’s contributions to national healthcare by awarding him the Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) on March 23 earlier this year. This dual recognition reflects Lobo's unwavering commitment to enhancing healthcare access and improving lives across Pakistan, the German Consulate statement added.