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Newspost

August 13, 2017

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Forever in our hearts

Forever in our hearts

Ruth Pfau, the compassionate woman who cared for those who were rejected by their own, came to Pakistan in the 1960s. Instead of going back to her country, Germany, she decided to stay in Pakistan and dedicated her entire life for the patients of leprosy. Despite facing the resistance and rejection by some conservative minds, despite dealing with the problem of lack of resources, she strived hard. And due to her undeviating resolve, Pakistan became the first country in the region to eradicate this disease in 1996.Did she leave her country for money, fame or any such materialistic things? The answer is no. She did that for the sake of humanity. She became the heartbeat and conscience of Pakistan. She served every individual irrespective of colour, creed or caste. She never complained about the lack of facilities, lack of cooperation or neglecting attitudes. She had a noble mission to accomplish.

Now what can we do to thank her for her services? Although the prime minister has announced to give a state funeral to her, we need to do a lot more. We need to follow her example. We should carry forward her work. Her struggle and mission should not go in vain.

Muhammad Aized

Gujranwala

*****

The death of Dr Ruth Pfau deeply saddened the entire nation. This German-Pakistani woman dedicated her life to eradicating leprosy across Pakistan. She was popularly called lepers’ light and she passed away on Thursday (Aug 10) at a local hospital in Karachi.

It is important to mention here that in 1996 the World Health Organization declared that Pakistan is a leprosy-free country, leading it to be one of the first countries in Asia to achieve this goal. This was only because of selfless and unmatched services of Pfau. Her death is a big loss for the country. She will always be in the hearts of Pakistanis.

Mannan Samad

Turbat

 

*****

Dr Pfau dedicated her life to eliminate leprosy from Pakistan. She migrated to Pakistan in the 1960s. At that time, leprosy was spreading like a plague. Not a single treatment facility was available in the country. It was the most lethal communicable disease. People shunned lepers and threw them out of houses. They were isolated and had to live in deserted places away from the population centres.

The leprosy patients would die in helpless and miserable conditions without getting treatment. Dr Pfau established the first leprosy hospital in Karachi. She used to administer medicine with her hands. She also used to clean their wounds herself and had no fear of contracting the disease. After observing her working with so much dedication, many people join the field. The fear that once deterred doctors from treating patients started fading away. Now we have around 176 medical centres for leprosy treatment.

In 1996 WHO declared Pakistan a leprosy-free country. Had Pfau not started her missionary work for lepers, the country would still have been fighting the battle against leprosy. Afterwards, she focused on tribal areas where leprosy patients are still present. She was a physician with a heart of gold. She was awarded Hilal-e-Pakistan and Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the government. Prominent politicians, including the president and the prime minister, also expressed their grief over her death. She will always be remembered for her services.        

Javaid Bashir

Lahore

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