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Hilal-E-Imtiaz Awarded to Dr. Ruth Pfau. Mother Teresa

In 1961, Dr. Ruth Pfau relocated from Germany to Pakistan, where she fought leprosy for more than 55 years. She was a German-Pakistani Catholic nun of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary organization.

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The World Health Organization reported in 1996 that Pakistan was one of the first countries in Asia to limit the spread of leprosy due to her persistent efforts. In the 1980s, there were 19,398 reported cases, but in 2016, there were just 531.

In 1979, she was appointed federal minister of leprosy for the government of Pakistan’s ministry of health and social welfare. Due to her numerous contributions, she was granted Pakistani citizenship in 1999.

On September 9, 1999, the Archbishop of Karachi, Simeon Anthony Pereira, performed a service in St. Patrick’s church to honor Pfau’s 70th birthday. Both Muslims and Christians were invited.

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On August 10, 2017, she passed away at Aga Khan University Hospital, where she had been brought on August 4 for respiratory difficulties. The Pakistani flag was draped on her casket, and all three wings of Pakistan fired a 19-gun salute at her funeral.

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