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Dr Ruth Pfau

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Dr Ruth Pfau
  • A selfless kind soul

Kindness has no religion and it has no boundaries. I believe that kindness is one of the most imperative virtues because it is an important basis in everyday life. It is a strong moral to have. Kindness can be giving a simple smile or helping someone cross the street or help someone in their miseries. We can use this virtue in every situation every day. 

Furthermore, kindness is important to give, much more than to get, because it not only gives another person the opportunity to feel better about themselves, it also gives a person the ability to feel better about himself/herself. So being benevolent towards others with kind behavior, and to oneself will always be gratifying. I believe kindness is the utmost gift.

Maya Angelo, an eminent Afro-American feminist novelist states “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Dr Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau is one of the best example. She was a German-born Pakistani, physician and nun of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She moved from Germany to Pakistan and devoted more than Fifty years of her life fighting leprosy in Pakistan.

Born on 9th September 1929 in Germany, Dr. Ruth is commonly known as the “Mother Teresa of Pakistan.” She has helped establishing 150 plus leprosy clinics and treated almost Fifty thousand patients.

Ruth became a victim of World War II as her home was destroyed and she escaped to West Germany with her family and choose medicine for her future studies. She was enrolled in the University of Mainz. Her next destination was Marburg where she continued studying medicine. In 1957 she moved to Paris and joined the Daughters of the Heart of Mary. Afterwards she traveled to the southern India, where because of some visa issue she was stuck in Karachi. She considered it as some luck from God and started working in Pakistan and crossed the border of Afghanistan, where she rescued the patients who were locked down because of their families as they were suffering from the disease of leprosy.

Likewise, in 1960’s in Karachi at the Railway station (which is now I.I Chandigarh Road), she decided that the care of patients would be her life's goal. She started with medical treatment for the leprosy patients in the huts in the slum areas. The Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre was founded which later bifurcated out into tuberculosis and blindness prevention programs and social work for the leprosy patients and their family members was initiated by Dr. I.A Gill, this Leprosy Clinic was bought in April 1963 by Dr. Ruth and patients from all over Karachi, Pakistan, and even from Afghanistan came for their treatment.

In 1979, she was appointed as the Federal Advisor on Leprosy to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Government of Pakistan. Dr. Ruth went to detached areas of Pakistan where there were no medical facilities for leprosy patients. She collected donations in Germany and Pakistan and cooperated with hospitals in Rawalpindi and Karachi. In 1988 in .appreciation of her service to our motherland, she was granted Pakistani citizenship. On 9 September 1999, Archbishop of Karachi, Simeon Anthony Pereira celebrated a Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral to celebrate Dr. Pfau’s 70th birthday, which was attended by Christians together with Muslims

Due to her unrelenting efforts, in 1996, the World Health Organisation (WHO) affirmed Pakistan one of the first countries in Asia to have controlled leprosy. According to the most eminent newspaper Dawn, the number of leprosy cases nationwide dropped ominously from Nineteen Thousand in the early 1980s to Five Hundred in 2016..

Dr Ruth wrote four books in German about her contribution in Pakistan. In 1987 in her book ‘To Light a Candle’, and in another book she expressed her intention of never retiring.

Dr Ruth received various honor awards for her courage. In 1969, she received Order of Merit, Nishan-e-Quaid-i-Azam, in 1979 Hilal-e-Imtiaz, 1989 Hilal-i-Pakistan, in 2002 Ramon Magsaysay Award, in 2003 the Jinnah award, in 2004 Doctor of Science Honoris Causa Aga Khan University, Karachi, in 2005 Marion Doenhoff Prize, and in 2015 German Staufer Medal.She was a very active partipiant in helping in the relief operations in the aftermath of 2005 earthquake and the overwhelming floods in South-Western Pakistan in 2010.

Dr. Ruth passed away in Civil hospital in Karachi on 10 August 2017. The nation lost a real gem, the hard working doctor who felt pain for the people of the country which accepted her. Her death has been consoled across the nation, and the government gave a state funeral and the national flag was fly at half-mast on 18 August 2017. On 19 August 2017, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah announced renaming of the Civil Hospital Karachi to Dr. Ruth Pfau Hospital as a salutation of "selfless services of the late social servant." It was Dr. Rthu’s selfless and kind attitude that made her the real gem of our country. May her soul rest in peace. 

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Hamza Ali Abbasi
Hamza Ali Abbasi
I wish we name New Islamabad Airport after Abdul Sattar EDHI sahab..... I wish!

Sami Gul🇵🇰
Sami Gul🇵🇰
New islamabad Airport should be named to " Abdul sattar Edhi " for giving him Honour. #EdhiAirport Rt if you agree

WE SALUTE Dr Ruth Pfau
Mother Teresa of Pakistan