The journey of leprosy control in Pakistan started in 1956 in Karachi, from a tiny shed built by the leprosy patients themselves from wooden fruit crates, under the guidance of a young Mexican Sister. In 1960, Dr. Ruth Pfau, a young German doctor, joined the leprosy work and gradually developed it into the National Leprosy Control Program. The comprehensive approach attended to the medical as well as the social problems of the patients, who lived in absolute poverty and isolation. The Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center has now grown into a country-wide Leprosy Control Program, gradually linking up with the Provincial Health Departments and working in the major part of Pakistan including Northern Area and Azad Kashmir through more than 160 Leprosy / TB / Eye clinics. In 1996 the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center achieved its objectives of Leprosy Control through its hard working, motivated and efficient field force. However, eradication will still take 50–60 years, mainly because leprosy has a very long and variable incubation period from 3 to 40 years. Thus arises the need to include other health disciplines to guarantee the presence of leprosy technicians in the field. Ophthalmology was always familiar to them, as leprosy is one of the systemic diseases having most ocular complications. The average age is increasing, and eye diseases are or will be associated with almost everybody above the age of 40. With poor hygienic conditions, malnutrition, etc. the chance of children having eye diseases is quite high, as seen in vitamin A deficiency and trachoma.
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