Kashmiri Teacher’s Blood Campaign Comes in Handy in Pandemic

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Sajad Hussain

Covid may have once again reared its ugly head and shut OPDs in hospitals, but many community welfare workers are proactively working to keep the society safe in these viral times. Among them is a man from Magam who’s saving lives with his vital cause.

By Saqib Jameel  

AS siren-blaring ambulances are declaring a deafening health emergency in Kashmir, Sajad Hussain is marshalling his troupe to avert the blood crisis in the valley grappling with the contagion groundswell.

His crucial initiative is coming at a time when major health centres have once again become Covid- designated hospitals — tackling a warlike situation created by pernicious pandemic.

In his Magam home in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, Hussain’s cellphone is buzzing with distressing ‘blood’ calls. He answers with an assuring tone — knowing well that his battery of ‘blood brothers’ in Budgam is just a phone call away to handle the crisis.

As someone who has witnessed lot of bloodshed during his lifetime, Hussain knows how an ounce of blood can save someone’s life.

But since the current circumstances are once again challenging non-covid healthcare operations in the valley, Hussain is focusing on supplying the vital fluid with the help of his group.

During blood donation

Before becoming Kashmir’s full-fledged blood campaigner, Hussain himself was an active donor. He hanged his individual boots 20 years ago to start Imam Sajad Blood Donors Group tackling the emergency situations in the valley.

“I’m into blood donation from last 30 years now,” Hussain says with his modest gaze.

“I donate blood to please Almighty and not for any fame. I’ve donated blood irrespective of the caste, class, religion, and race. I’ve saved eighty one lives with my individual donations.”

The blood drive started in 1990 when Hussain’s homeland had become a raging conflict theatre. As the low-scale warfare left many bleeding, Kashmir hospitals at once felt the need of blood.

It was then college-goer Hussain decided to donate his blood for his bleeding brethren.

“In 1990, I first donated my blood to a child in critical condition,” Hussain recalls his life-changing moment. “He needed O-Positive blood. And since it matched with my blood group, I rushed to the hospital swiftly.”

Once done with donation, Hussain went to see the child in his ward.

“I saw happiness on his mother’s face and for the first time I felt peace inside me,” emotional Hussian recalls.

The moment he started walking out of that ward, the child’s mother stopped him and put something in his pocket.

“I resisted, but she was unrelenting,” the blood donor recounts.

“I checked and it was a five rupee coin. I realized then, that if she had got all the wealth in the world she would have happily put that in my pocket. I looked at her and she started crying. I realized that I had given her a new hope, a new life and a new purpose. That was the most peaceful day of my life.”

Once back from the hospital, young Hussian decided to became a blood donor.

Sajad Hussain

With this new identity, he would eventually change many lives. He even crossed barriers for his welfare campaign and reached people from Kargil to Jammu, Shopian to Baramulla, Bandipora to Srinagar. He even donated blood to a few patients in Delhi.

“I individually donated blood till 2001 and after that I decided to create a group of donors,” Hussian informs. “The group has 200 members — who have so far arranged blood for over 2000 people all over Kashmir.”

A teacher by profession, Hussain is currently using his experience and expertise to mitigate the covid crisis. He’s mindful how previous year’s pandemic lockdown created non-covid health distress situation in Kashmir.

“Many people who needed blood couldn’t get the timely help due to this pandemic fret,” Hussain says. “While our frontline warriors are leading the covid fight back at the moment, all of us should play our part to sail through this stressful situation.”

But while Hussain is mobilising his donors for the vital cause, he feels every healthy young person should become a donor and save lives.

“Blood donors are important part of the society,” he says. “But sadly, people often hesitate to donate blood and there are certain irrational fears in our society that restrict our youth from becoming donors. We should encourage this trend and make it a part of life.”

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