Pakistan's magic healer Dr Ruth Pfau passes away

Published: August 10, 2017
87-year-old nun from Germany cured Pakistan of leprosy.

87-year-old nun from Germany cured Pakistan of leprosy.

Pakistan’s magic leprosy healer Dr Ruth Pfau passed away early Thursday morning at the age of 87 in Karachi.

The founder of the National Leprosy Control Programme in Pakistan, Dr Pfau passed away around 4am today. The funeral mass will be held on Saturday, August 19, at 11am at St Patrick’s Cathedral, and thereafter will be laid to rest in the Christian Cemetery (Gora Qabristan).

Dr Ruth Pfau: The magic healer

The body will be taken to St Patrick’s Cathedral on August 19, 2017 at 8:30am for viewing. The 87-year-old was admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital on Wednesday in critical condition.

Dr Pfau dedicated her life to treating patients in Pakistan. She founded the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre in Karachi and in all provinces of Pakistan, including Gilgit-Baltistan. She had treated over 50,000 families since the inception of the centre.

Dr Pfau had been living in Pakistan since 1960 and came to the country when she just 29. When she witnessed the suffering of the country’s leprosy patients she decided to stay here. She was a German nun and a member of the Society of Daughters of the Heart of Mary, who devoted the last 50 years of her life to fighting leprosy in Pakistan.

Dr Ruth Pfau: Pakistan’s ‘Mother Teresa’ on floods frontline

She had travelled to various parts of Pakistan to medically facilitate leprosy patients, a journey she said enjoyed tremendously because of the marked difference made in the lives of her patients.

With her efforts, in 1996, the World Health Organisation declared Pakistan one of the first countries in Asia to have controlled leprosy. She was awarded the Hilal-e-Pakistan in 1989 and Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 1979 by the government of Pakistan. Dr Pfau was also on the front line when Sindh was hit by floods in 2010.

In December 2015, Dr Pfau, was awarded the Staufer Medal at the German consulate. “I could have left Pakistan earlier if I wanted to but I will stay here,” said Dr Pfau as she accepted the award from German consul-general Rainer Schmiedchen.

Dr Ruth Pfau awarded German Staufer Medal

A ceremony was organised at the German consulate to mark Dr Pfau’s services and for the German consul-general to award her with the Staufer Medal, the highest award of the German state of Baden-Württemberg for her work to eradicate leprosy in the country.

“When I came to Pakistan no one recognised me but then people started to appreciate my work across the country,” said Dr Pfau of the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre. “I have worked hard with my team to eradicate leprosy in Pakistan, our hard work could not completely eliminate this disease but at least we managed to decrease it,” she said. “This award is not just for me but for all of my teammates,” Dr Pfau added.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Jawad
    Aug 10, 2017 - 9:53AM

    RIP an other good soul passed away Recommend

  • Troubled
    Aug 10, 2017 - 10:00AM

    My heart truly hurts on reading this. First edhi, and now dr. Ruth. God have mercy on Pakistan.Recommend

  • Farina Shakil
    Aug 10, 2017 - 10:01AM

    she was a great lady…We are (all Pakistani peoples) very thankful for their great work .

  • erudite
    Aug 10, 2017 - 10:13AM

    Rest in eternal peace mam!Recommend

  • Rafi Malik
    Aug 10, 2017 - 10:42AM

    Rest in Peace.Recommend

  • Tariq Sardar
    Aug 10, 2017 - 10:48AM

    Sad to hear about the demise of Dr. Ruth, what an inspirational lady. May she rest in peace and God have mercy on her soul. To acknowledge her great work, she should be give a State funereal. Recommend

  • Sham
    Aug 10, 2017 - 10:57AM

    Very sad day for Pakistan. We will always remember you. Rest in peace. Recommend

    Aug 10, 2017 - 11:10AM

    RIP. She was an angel.Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Aug 10, 2017 - 11:18AM

    May your Soul Rest in Heavens Doctor Sahiba. Amen! Recommend

  • Pekhawar Khan
    Aug 10, 2017 - 11:22AM

    Dear Doctor, a mere thanks wont suffice, but Thank you! May your soul Rest in Peace!Recommend

  • Faisal
    Aug 10, 2017 - 11:50AM

    RIP. She was a truly exceptional individual with an amazing caring attitude. We were lucky to have someone like her helping out so tremendously. A grateful nation says THANK U! Recommend

  • Sadruddin
    Aug 10, 2017 - 11:57AM

    She should be given a state funeral by Pakistan, like it was given to Edhi.Recommend

  • Khwaja
    Aug 10, 2017 - 12:06PM

    Truly inspiring and committed to her cause. These are the souls that will find the most coveted places in the hereafter.

    God bless you Doc , you will always live here in the hearts of people .Recommend

  • Abdul Aleem
    Aug 10, 2017 - 12:29PM

    Immense respect for the doctor who dedicated her whole life for usRecommend

  • I M Khan
    Aug 10, 2017 - 1:14PM


    We should give her the same farewell treatment and prayers as the nation remembered for Abdul Sattar Edhi. Recommend

  • Amer
    Aug 10, 2017 - 1:26PM

    Thank you Dr Pfau. Rest in Peace.Recommend

  • Ali Zaib
    Aug 10, 2017 - 2:56PM

    May her soul rest in peace. had a purpose in life and served it really well. Recommend

  • muhammad zeb
    Aug 10, 2017 - 4:09PM

    @Farina Shakil:

  • Benish
    Aug 10, 2017 - 4:46PM

    We can never thank her enough. RIPRecommend

  • Fazal
    Aug 10, 2017 - 4:57PM

    RIP Solute to the great laddy.Recommend

  • Farhan
    Aug 10, 2017 - 5:06PM

    Thank you madam and thanks to Germany for producing such a dedicated and untiring global citizen. Pakistan is incomplete without youRecommend

  • Wasim Tauqir
    Aug 10, 2017 - 7:38PM

    You will always be remembered. I wish we could have learnt more from you.Recommend

  • Naeem Khan
    Aug 10, 2017 - 8:52PM

    RIP, thank you for your services to the nation of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Anwar Zahidi
    Aug 10, 2017 - 10:33PM

    Dr Ruth Pfau was undoubtedly a massiha of peace and healing for the people of Northen areas of Pakistan who were suffering from a terrible disease Leprosy.
    She landed in Pakistan from Germany in 1958 whe she was 30 and devoted her entire life serving the ailing community of Pakistan
    I salute to her passion of devotion and mission
    I am lucky to have read a paper about her book 9n PTv Islamabad back in 1988-89
    God bless her soul rest in peace
    Dr.Anwar Zahidi Recommend

  • Rana
    Aug 10, 2017 - 11:51PM

    Solute to the great lady. No words for her kindness. RIP.Recommend

  • Dr SN Shah
    Aug 11, 2017 - 6:37AM

    A great devotee and fighter against leprosy in Pakistan. Somebody rightly called her as mother Teresa of Pakistan. I have the unique honour to meet her in Balakot just before I started my medical school. She always remained an inspiration for me. I am sure she will be remembered as the friend of humanity and Pakistan. Hope her funeral would be carried out with the officials present to honour her in her last journey.Recommend

  • Mohammed Mirza
    Aug 11, 2017 - 1:09PM

    Very sad to hear about her great loss.Wished she could have become a Muslim.Its our fault that the we didn’t give dawat to her.Recommend

  • chaman
    Aug 11, 2017 - 1:54PM

    she was great ladyRecommend

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