Ruth Pfau


Ruth Katherina Martha 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 honoured with the Hilal-i-Pakistan, Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Nishan-i-Quaid-i-Azam, and the Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam award. 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. Dr. Ruth Pfau was born on 9 September 1929 in Leipzig, Germany as fourth of five daughters. During World War II as a teenager she barely survived the Allied bombing which destroyed her home. She was fond of becoming a doctor and in 1948 she escaped from the Soviet Occupation Zone and followed her father to Wiesbaden in West Germany to study medicine at the University of Mainz and in Marburg. After graduation she joined the Daughters of the Heart of Mary Society, when she was 29 the society sent her to India but due to some visa issues she landed in Karachi. In 1960, Dr Ruth witnessed the devastation caused by Leprosy in Pakistan and decided to dedicate the rest of her life for people afflicted by Leprosy.