Dr. Ruth Pfau: Remembering on her 5th death anniversary 

In a tribute to late German-born Dr. Ruth Pfau on the fifth anniversary of her death, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif stressed that role models like her strengthen faith in humanity.

In the early hours of the morning on 10 August 2017, Dr. Ruth Pfau passed away at the Aga Khan University Hospital, around 4:00 a.m. Dr Ruth admitted to the hospital on 4 August for respiratory problems and put on a ventilator on 6 August. Nevertheless, the doctors decided to take her off the ventilator since she had asked them to do so.

In addition to kidney and heart disease, Dr. Ruth had been undergoing treatment for several years.

There is now a possibility of preventing and even curing leprosy, a disfiguring and stigmatizing ailment also known as Hansen’s disease, if it is diagnose early on.

After four decades of fighting leprosy, a mildly contagious bacterial infection, the World Health Organization declared it under control in Pakistan in 1996, before most other Asian countries (although hundreds of new cases are still reported there every year).

Memories of Dr. Ruth Pfau

Dr. Ruth ended up in Pakistan in 1960, due to a passport mishap, in which she visited a leper colony in Karachi where she met one of the thousands of Pakistani lepers afflicted with the disease.

As a result of her efforts, the hospital soon became the hub of a network of 157 leprosy clinics, which served tens of thousands of Pakistanis infected with the disease.

In addition to treating victims of the 2000 drought in Balochistan, the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, and the devastating floods of 2010 in Kashmir, the center and its satellite clinics largely funded by German, Austrian, and Pakistani donors.

As a result of her services for the ailing humanity in Pakistan, she received the Hilal-i-Pakistan award, the Hilal-i-Imtiaz award, the Nishan-i-Quaid-i-Azam award, and the Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam award. During the early 1960s, Dr. Pfau joined the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center, which established in the slums of Karachi in 1956.

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