Pakistanis offer condolence on 4th death anniversary of Ruth Pfau. In the early morning of 10th August 2017, Pfau died at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi. She was admitted due to respiratory problems on 4 August 2017. The Pakistani flag was draped over her coffin and a 19-gun salute was offered by contingents of all three wings of the Pakistan Armed Forces. The ceremony was broadcast live on Pakistan Television. Dr. Pfau was reportedly the first Christian and the first non-Muslim to have a state funeral in Pakistan.
Who was Dr Ruth Pfau?
Dr. Ruth Pfau
was a German–Pakistani Catholic nun of the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, and a physician. She moved from Germany to Pakistan in 1961 and devoted more than 55 years of her life to fighting leprosy in Pakistan. Pfau was honored with the Hilal-i-Pakistan-, Hilal-i-Imtiaz-, Nishan-i-Quaid-i-Azam-, and the Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam award.
In 1979, she was appointed as the Federal Advisor on Leprosy to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Government of Pakistan. Pfau went to distant areas of Pakistan where there were no medical facilities for leprosy patients. She collected donations in Germany and Pakistan and co-operated with hospitals in Rawalpindi and Karachi. In recognition of her service to the country, she was awarded Pakistani citizenship in 1988.
Pfau contributed to the establishment of 157 leprosy clinics across Pakistan that treated over 56,780 people. Fazaia Ruth Pfau Medical College and Dr. Ruth Pfau Hospital are named after her in Karachi.
Due to her continued efforts, in 1996 the World Health Organization declared Pakistan one of the first countries in Asia to have controlled leprosy. According to the Dawn, the number of leprosy cases nationwide dropped significantly from 19,398 in the early 1980s to 531 in 2016.
On 9 September 1999, the Archbishop of Karachi, Simeon Anthony Pereira, celebrated a Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to celebrate Pfau’s 70th birthday, which was attended by both Christians and Muslims.
Thus, Pakistanis offer condolence on 4th death anniversary of Ruth Pfau.