In a heartfelt tribute to the legendary humanitarian, Dr. Ruth Pfau, renowned for her unwavering dedication in combating leprosy in Pakistan for over half a century, Islamabad is considering renaming a significant thoroughfare as “Dr. Ruth Pfau Road.” This gesture aims to immortalize the indelible mark left by the German doctor who dedicated her life to eradicating this debilitating disease from Pakistan.
The proposal to rechristen one of Islamabad’s unnamed roads as a tribute to Dr. Pfau has been put forward by the Capital Development Authority (CDA). Amidst the numerous anonymous roads that weave through the city, the CDA seeks to select one that will forever carry the name of this iconic figure.
Dr. Ruth Pfau’s journey began in 1961 when she arrived in Pakistan from Germany. Over the course of 55 remarkable years, she tirelessly battled leprosy in the country. Her extraordinary contributions earned her numerous accolades, including the Hilal-i-Pakistan, Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Nishan-i-Quaid-i-Azam, and Sitara awards.
Her legacy is marked by the establishment of 157 clinics dedicated to leprosy care, where she provided compassionate treatment to an astounding 56,780 patients. Dr. Pfau’s impact was so profound that a medical college and hospital in Karachi proudly bear her name.
Tragically, Dr. Ruth Pfau passed away in August 2017, leaving behind a legacy of hope and healing. In recognition of her unparalleled service, the government bestowed upon her special honors.
This proposal to rename a road as a tribute mirrors a similar decision made in June 2023 when the CDA renamed the renowned IJP Road to Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed Road. While this change garnered support from some quarters, it also faced opposition. Nevertheless, the CDA proceeded with the renaming after it was officially inaugurated.
The contemplation of dedicating a road in Islamabad to Dr. Ruth Pfau underscores the enduring impact of her humanitarian work and the nation’s commitment to honoring her legacy. It symbolizes a nation’s gratitude for the extraordinary service rendered by this remarkable doctor.