KARACHI: Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s President Muhammad Haroon Agar paid tribute to Madam Dr Ruth Pfau, Founder of Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre MALC who gave her entire life to Pakistan and for the cause to eliminate leprosy in the country.
During his visit to Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre MALC Haroon Agar met Dr Ruth Pfau and her team who apprised the President KCCI and his colleagues Ateequr Rehman and Zafar Saeed that Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre is one of the largest NGO in the country running Leprosy Elimination, TB & Blindness Control Program and has its headquarters in Karachi. MALC serves as a secondary referral facility for Leprosy patients from all over Pakistan who are treated free of charge irrespective of caste or creed.
Dr. Ruth Pfau apprised that the journey of Leprosy control in Pakistan started in 1956 in Karachi. In 1960, she joined the Leprosy work and gradually developed it into the National Leprosy Control Program. The multipronged approach attended to the medical as well as the social problems of the patients, living in abject poverty and isolation. MALC has now grown into a countrywide Leprosy Control Program, and is linked up with the Provincial Health Departments. In 1996, the first objective had been achieved; Leprosy in Pakistan was controlled, four years ahead of WHO target year of 2000, thus becoming the first country in EMRO region to achieve this historic landmark.
Thereafter, MALC under the lead of Dr Pfau embarked upon the Elimination Phase which too has been achieved countrywide except Sindh. The Leprosy programs now increasingly developing into community health services, with emphasis on Leprosy Elimination, Tuberculosis and Blindness control TM Triple Merger and comprehensive care of patients thus served at 157 sub centres spread across the country, through around 700 trained staff countrywide. Dr Pfau expressed deep concern over precarious law and order situation and informed that MALC in one of its medical centre at Manghopir area has received extortion chits by criminals and its two security guards were also killed which need immediate attention by concerned quarters.
Agar paid homage to Dr Ruth Pfau and stated that she had dedicated her life for the people of Pakistan to eliminate Leprosy and the MALC was successful in its aim so far. He asserted upon the need to draw the attention of the elite and the business community as well as the business and commercial concern to contribute and support MALC under the CSR programme as the Centre was providing best treatment and medical services free of cost to all segments of the society without any discrimination. He assured Dr Pfau Karachi Chamber’s best support in this regard. He said that Health Sectors hold fundamental importance for any country and presently Pakistan is in a dire need to establish high quality health institutions.
Although the government and many NGOs are making notable efforts to improve health and hygiene, however, the privileged class of the society must participate and contribute in this noble cause. Commenting on the security threats faced by MALC Haroon Agar voiced that the criminal elements are also harassing MALC which is engaged in social welfare activities and demanding extortion which is strongly condemnable. He demanded the Government to provide safety and security to Dr Ruth Pfau, her team and at the Medical Centre which are serving the less privileged class and ailing persons of the society.