Dr. Ruth Pfau moved from Germany to Pakistan in 1961 and spent more than 55 years of her life combatting leprosy in Pakistan. She was a German-Pakistani catholic nun of the society of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary. She was awarded Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Hilal-i-Pakistan, Nishan-i-Quaid-i-Azam, and the Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam.
She put efforts into establishing 157 leprosy clinics all over Pakistan, which cured over 56,780 people. Even colleges named after her, Fazaia Ruth Pfau Medical College and Dr. Ruth Pfau Hospital in Karachi.
In 1996, the World Health Organization announced Pakistan one of the first countries in Asia to control leprosy spread due to her continued efforts. According to sources, in the 1980s, the cases were 19,398, but in 2016, they were just 531. In 1979, for ministry of health and social welfare of the government of Pakistan, she was made the federal minister of leprosy. She went to remote and distant areas of Pakistan to treat leprosy patients who did not have the facilities. She cooperated with hospitals in Karachi and Rawalpindi and collected donations from Germany and Pakistan. For her countless services, she was awarded Pakistani citizenship in 1999.
The Archbishop of Karachi, Simeon Anthony Pereira, celebrated a mass at St. Patrick’s cathedral to celebrate the 70th birthday of Pfau, where Muslims and Christians both were invited on 9th September 1999.
On 10th August 2017, in the early morning, at Aga khan University Hospital, she died after being admitted due to respiratory issues on 4th august 2017. On her coffin, the Pakistani flag was draped, a 19-gun salute was offered at her funeral by all three wings of Pakistan. She was the first Christian/ non-Muslim whose funeral had a state funeral and was broadcasted live on Pakistan television.