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'Mother Teresa' of Pakistan Sister Ruth Pfau dies

Due to her efforts, Pakistan was one of the first countries in Asia to control leprosy

'Mother Teresa' of Pakistan Sister Ruth Pfau dies

In this file image taken on Dec. 2, 2010, Sister Ruth Pfau (center) meets people in Begna village in southern Pakistan's Jati town. Sisiter Pfau founded the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center in 1960 in Karachi when she was 29 years of age. (Photo by Asif Hassan/AFP)

August 11, 2017

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Pakistan's 'Mother Teresa,' Sister Ruth Pfau, a medical doctor who dedicated much of her life to treating leprosy patients, passed away on Aug. 10 after a long illness. She was 87.

The founder of the National Leprosy Control Program, Sister Pfau died at Aga Khan Hospital in the commercial capital Karachi, where she was admitted two weeks ago due to an age-related illness.

A German nun and member of the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, Sister Pfau founded the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center (MALC) in Karachi and in all provinces after arriving in Pakistan in 1960, aged 29.  

Due to her efforts, in 1996 the World Health Organization declared Pakistan as one of the first countries in Asia to control leprosy. She was bestowed with the nation's highest civil awards, the 'Hilal-e-Pakistan' and the 'Hilal-e-Imtiaz.

Condolences and tributes poured in on social media after her death was announced.

"May her soul rest in peace and may others follow in her footsteps," Arif Alvi, an opposition lawmaker, tweeted.

"Dr. Ruth Pfau. Pakistani legend. Represented the pinnacle of human empathy & dedication. May God grant her soul peace & tranquility," Mosharraf Zaidi, a Pakistani columnist, tweeted.

Mervyn F. Lobo, Chief Executive Officer of the MALC, expressed deep sorrow.

A funeral service will be held at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Karachi on Aug. 19.

In recognition of the services rendered by Sisiter Pfau for Pakistan, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has announced a state funeral for her.

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