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Bilqees Ara, an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) worker is now known as the 'blood woman of Kashmir' as she has set an example across the valley by donating blood 28 times since 2012.

"I feel privileged and proud to be the savior of many patients in Kashmir valley," she said.

"I have seen people crying helplessly while trying to get blood to save their loved ones but I am proud of myself because I have arranged blood for them too. After that I was feeling an inner joy," she said, adding that her only wish now is that all women should do the way she is doing it.

Bilqees hails from Handwara Tehsil of North Kashmir's Kupwara district and is a mother of three children. She also mentions that she feels inner solace when she donates blood and she has also donated blood to one of her children.

"I have donated blood to the needy including accident victims, pregnant ladies and other patients in almost every hospital in North Kashmir, besides, whenever I had the opportunity, I would donate blood at Srinagar Hospitals," she said, adding that people now know her as 'Blood Woman of Kashmir'.

"I am a registered blood donor, whenever a need arises the officials at Blood Bank at Handwara hospital call me and within the shortest span of time I make myself available to donate blood," she said.

Bilqees also motivated other people to come forward and affirmed that blood donation makes one feel better both mentally and physically. So far, she has inspired hundreds of people to donate blood and also organised multiple blood donation camps.

"Women should come forward and do this as there is nothing to be afraid of. This is to be done for society," she said, adding that she wondered who else would do it if she refused. If a person has blood and courage, why can't he give it to someone else in a time of need? she asked.

India reported the greatest increase in blood donors from 3.6 million in 2007 to 4.6 million in 2008, according to the WHO. The health body doesn't have the figures for the subsequent years, but it shows a popular will in the country to donate blood.

In India, everyone above the age of 18 is eligible to donate blood provided, they fulfill the physical and health criteria. Experts inform that men can donate blood safely every three months while women can donate safely in four months.

According to a Lancet report, before the Covid-19 pandemic, India battled a shortfall of 41 million units of blood. The WHO recommends blood donation to 1% of the country's population to suffice its blood needs.

With Inputs from agencies.

 

 

 

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