Karachi, February 02, 2023 (PPI-OT):Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the Leprosy Control Program started in the 1960s as a joint venture between the provincial Health Department and Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre (MALC) and within 55 years they successfully controlled Leprosy in 1996 making Pakistan the first country in EMRO (Eastern Mediterranean Region Office) region where Leprosy was controlled well ahead of WHO target of the year 2000.
He congratulated MALC and the Health Department for their incredible accomplishment in creating such an exemplary model of long association and collaborative efforts toward Leprosy Control in Pakistan. This he said while speaking at the 70th World Leprosy Day organized by Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre (MALC) at a local hotel on Thursday. The program was attended by CEO MALac Mr. Mervyn Lobo, German Ambassador Mr. Alfred Grannas, German Consul General Dr. Rudiger Lotz, Parliamentary Secretary Health Qasim Soomro, Special Assistant to CM Sadiq Memon, Secretary Health Zulfiqar Shah and various others.
It is indeed a great honour and privilege for me to be here on this auspicious occasion of the 70th World Leprosy Day. Mr. Shah said that World Leprosy Day gave us an opportunity to acknowledge people who have experienced leprosy, raise awareness of the disease, call for an end to the stigma attached to it, and at the same time express gratitude for the commitment of millions of workers, professionals, and donors, including WHO in fighting the battle against it [leprosy]. He added that since Sindh was a highly leprosy-burdened area, it would be the prime time to ‘act now and end Leprosy,’ which was the theme for this year.
Recalling Dr. Ruth Pfau, the CM said that she was a true inspiration to everyone who knew her, she devoted her whole life to our country, especially for the poor people affected by Leprosy. “Her tremendous efforts cannot be put into words – her demise is a great loss not only for Pakistan but for the whole world as she was a symbol of humanity and harmony between people of different religions,” he said and added that to keep her legacy alive her team was working with high spirits, venturing out into different disciplines such as Tuberculosis, Community Based Inclusive Development, Eye and Mother and Child Health Care.
The CM thanked the people of Germany for their generous support of a humanitarian cause for over 60 years. He added that It was true that Germany and Pakistan shared deep ties and rich history. At this event, he termed Ambassador of Germany showed how much he felt for the leprosy program and the people of Pakistan. He also thanked Dr. Saunderson and Dr. Fastinau for coming to Pakistan to support our national program to keep up with international standards.
Murad Shah said that his Government was continuously engaged in developing and strengthening the healthcare structure in the country. He added that Pakistan was facing many health challenges, TB being one of top diseases. “I am pleased to know that MALC is also partnering in the Provincial TB Program and I am fully confident that like Leprosy, TB will also be controlled soon in the country,” he hoped.
CM Special Assistant Sadie Memon, German Ambassador, Mervyn Lobo, and others also spoke on the occasion. A small documentary with a background song of Abida Parveen dondhoge agar mulkon mulkon Mille nahin nayab haien hum was shown to pay tribute to Dr Ruth Pfau who devoted her life to the treatment of poor people affected by Leprosy. In the documentary, her services were acknowledged through her photographs taken right from starting her services in Karachi to her funeral and burial.
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