Kupwara, Aug 20: Bilqees Ara, an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) worker (health workers acting as an interface between community and the health system) from Gundchabotra village in north Kashmir's Kupwara was only a few months into her job when an expecting mother in her neighborhood whom she accompanied to a hospital, needed blood.
“I still remember when the pregnant woman from our locality whom I had accompanied to District Hospital Handwara for delivery desperately needed blood. Since no male from her family was present that time, I rose to the occasion and donated blood for the first time,” recalled the ASHA worker.
Although she was reluctant at the beginning, Bilqees somehow convinced herself given the woman's condition.
Ever since, the devoted ASHA worker has launched a parallel mission alongside her routine duties- to donate blood to those in need and save precious lives. Bilqees, who was engaged as an ASHA worker in the year 2012, has donated the life saving fluid as many as 25 times in her short service period of nine years and has saved many lives in the process.
"I feel privileged and proud to be the savior of many patients,” Bilqees told Greater Kashmir.
She happens to be a regular and registered blood donor at District Hospital Handwara where she has donated blood more than twelve times so far. She has also donated blood at Sub District Hospital Kupwara and LD Hospital Srinagar on several occasions, she said.
“Whenever a patient needs blood, officials at Blood Bank at DH Handwara call me and I try to make myself available at quickly as possible to donate blood,” she said.
The officials at Blood Bank Handwara acknowledged the fact that with Bilqees setting the trend, several women volunteers have come forward and are regular blood donors, too.
Bilqees says that her commitment to the noble cause has also motivated her husband, a government teacher, who also is a regular blood donor.
She yearns that more and more women come forward for the noble cause of donating blood and save precious lives.
Bilqees also happens to be an active COVID-19 warrior and has been on the frontline fighting the prevailing pandemic.
Since the Covid vaccination drive started across Kashmir, she has persuaded hundreds to take the COVID vaccine to keep the deadly disease at bay.