Sindh CM seeks permission for state funeral for Ruth Pfau

12 August, 2017, 19:35 | Author: Hope Soto
  • 2 2010 Ruth Pfau, head of a Pakistani charity fighting leprosy and blindness meets people in the flood-affected Begna village in southern Pakistan's Jati town

Pakistan has been home to the gems like Dr Ruth Pfau and Abdul Sattar Edhi who dedicated their lives for the welfare of the people of Pakistan. Even still, Pfau continued to push for public awareness of leprosy in her last years, pointing out that there were still 300 to 400 new cases of the disease reported each year, and it would take at least another 20 years of concentrated effort to eliminate it from Pakistan.

Zainab said Pfau was a "beacon of hope for underprivileged" people. After the war, her family escaped the communist regime in East Germany and moved to West Germany, where Sister Pfau studied medicine. Mark Lobel at the BBC reports that's when she saw leprosy up close for the first time and decided that would be her life's work. She was a devoted Christian nun and a member of the society of Daughters of the Heart of Mary. She convinced the government and then bosses of the health care management system to start a National Leprosy Control Programme in partnership with Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center (MALC). However, they gave full credit to Dr. Ruth Pfau who helped them and made positive changes in their lives through her inspirational personality. "He crawled on hands and feet into this dispensary, acting as if this was quite normal, as if someone has to crawl there through that slime and dirt on hands and feet, like a dog".

"Well if it doesn't hit you the first time, I don't think it will ever hit you", she told the BBC in 2010 about her first encounter with leprosy. However, it is far more important to carry forward her mission and cause even more diligently.

She said leprosy remained a problem in Pakistan from the 1950s until about 1996 and that Pfau played a key role in efforts by Pakistan and the World Health Organization to bring the disease under control. Last year, the number of patients under treatment for leprosy in Pakistan fell to 531, down from 19,398 in the 1980s, according to the Karachi daily Dawn.

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She was also awarded the Staufer Medal at the German consulate Karachi in 2015.

Through the letter he sought a state funeral from the president in her honor and recognition of her invaluable service to Pakistan. The government of Pakistan bestowed her with Sitara-e-Pakistan, Hilal-e-Pakistan and Hilal-e-Imtiaz for her invaluable contributions. She was granted Pakistani citizenship in 1988.

She also authored several books about her experiences, including To Light A Candle, which has been translated into English.

Salwa Zainab, a spokeswoman at Pfau's office, said Friday a funeral service will be held August 19 in Karachi, where Pfau died on Thursday.

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