Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dr Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau - a Eulogy


I heard the sad new today that Pakistani lepers' messiah Dr Ruth Pfau passes away early this morning, 10th of August 2017. Many may not have heard name of this great messiah who spent life treating lepers in Pakistan. Although she was heavily decorated for services to eradicate leprosy in Pakistan, we never eulogized her at national level and acknowledge her selfless services.

For quite some time I had been thinking of writing about her life and great services to Pakistan and it was just last night that I started writing this post - but left it half to complete it this morning, not know that seriously ill Dr Ruth will be no more when I wake up this morning, the 10th of August. Thus with a lamenting heart, I complete the rest of the life time achievement services of Dr Ruth Pfau.
Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau at the age of 34

I had heard of her right from school days as a general knowledge inquisitor and of her Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre established in Karachi. Born in Leipzig, Germany on 9th September 129, Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau studied medicine at Mainz in 1949. But she always wanted to do something different to cure the sufferings of the humanity and came to newly created Pakistan, where she though health services would not be adequate and her helping hand will be an addition. And certainly she made the difference.



She started her small clinic in the then slums of Karachi and started the treatment of Leprosy patients, a disease which at that time was one of the most incurable disease with very few doctors or facilities for its treatment. With the help of Doctor I K Gill, she laid the foundation of the  Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre and formal treatment of leprosy started for patients in Karachi initially and then for the rest of Pakistan.
In her prime youth, she devoted her entire life to fight leprosy

In addition to treating patients in Karachi, she visited far flung areas of Pakistan to treat patients who could not afford to come to Karachi and later added a center in Rawalpindi. In 1060, Dr Ruth decided to live rest of her life in Pakistan and continue curing the leprosy patients and rehabilitating them in normal stream of life. While getting donations from locals, she also used her German connection and collected donations from her native country to boost her services network.
Consoling a patient

In recognition of her service to the country, she was awarded Pakistani citizenship in 1988. In 1996, Pakistan was declared by the World Health Organization to have controlled leprosy, one of the first countries in Asia to achieve this goal. She was also awarded with some of the highest awards of Pakistan like the Hilal-e-Imtiaz (HI), Nishan-e-Quaid-e-Azam (NQA) and Hilal-e-Pakistan (HPk).

Today her death saddens me for I think we did not recognized her lifetime services like India did in case of Mother Tressa and failed to gave her the highest honour barring a few medals compatible to her services. This post of mine is just a small drop in the ocean to write this eulogy - but she surely deserves much more while she was still alive.

May she rest in peace for surely at the back of her there are silent prayers of thousands lepers who are now living health life.

Photos Courtesy Express Tribune | Resource Reference Wikipedia
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