LAHORE (92 News) – Google is paying homage to renowned German Dr Ruth Pfau, who dedicated her life to eradicate leprosy from Pakistan – on her 90th birthday with doodle today (on September 9).
A symbol of selflessness Dr Ruth Katharina Martha Pfau had been hailed as Pakistan’s ‘Mother Teresa’. She first came to Pakistan at the age of 29 in 1960. She witnessed leprosy in Pakistan for the first time in 1960 and returned to set up clinics across the country.
Dr Pfau rescued disfigured and suffering children who had been confined to caves and cattle pens for years by their parents, who were terrified that they were contagious.
“I could not believe that humans could live in such conditions,” she had said, remembering her first impressions of a Pakistani leper colony.
Google honours prominent personalities and occasions with special logos that it calls ‘doodles’. In the past, the US-based tech giant also paid tribute to Pakistan’s prominent personalities, Mehdi Hassan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Noor Jehan, Nazia Hassan and many others.
— German Embassy Islamabad (@GermanyinPAK) September 9, 2019
Dr Pfau, who was born in Leipzig in 1929 and saw her home destroyed by bombing during World War Two, had discovered her calling to help lepers coincidentally.
She had studied medicine and was sent to India in 1960 by her order, the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, but was stuck in Karachi owing to a visa issue. During this time, she first became aware of leprosy.
However, Dr Pfau went to India in 1961 for training but then returned to Pakistan and started a campaign to contain leprosy, a mildly contagious bacterial infection.
Dr Pfau trained Pakistani doctors and attracted foreign donations, building leprosy clinics across the country.
She preferred to stay in Pakistan to serve the destitute patients and her unprecedented services and role in eradicating leprosy and tuberculosis will always be remembered with respect and reverence.
She joined the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center and soon transformed it into the hub of a network of 157 medical centers that treated tens of thousands of Pakistanis infected with leprosy.
Less than four decades after Dr Pfau began her campaign, the World Health Organization declared it under control in Pakistan in 1996, ahead of most other Asian countries.
She was granted Pakistani citizenship in 1988 and received numerous accolades for her services, including the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Nishan-i-Quaid-i-Azam and Hilal-i-Pakistan.
Dr Pfau passed away on August 10, 2017 at a hospital in Karachi. She was 87.
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