Pakistan lost a great soul today! Dr Ruth Pfau, a German nun who devoted her life to eradicating leprosy from Pakistan, passed away in Karachi at the age of 87. She started treating patients from a hut in a slum quarter of Karachi. With funds raised in Pakistan and Germany, she co-founded the Marie Adelaide Society of Pakistan (MASP), to treat patients with Leprosy. Today there are 157 Leprosy Control Centres with over 800 staff.

She founded the National Leprosy Control Programme and in 1996 the World Health Organisation declared Pakistan one of the first countries in Asia to have controlled leprosy. In 1989 Dr Pfau visited Afghanistan and started work in Afghan refugee camps.

Like Graham Layton, who set up free eye clinics in Pakistan and helped reduce the incidence of blindness, Dr Ruth Pfau will be remembered as the woman who eased the suffering of leprosy patients and started the drive to eradicate this disease from Pakistan.

Dr Ruth Pfau’s work was recognised internationally and she received many awards for her work: