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Slices from Life

Notes from Balochistan: Volunteers for humanity

By: Ali Jan Maqsood

Blood Donation Camp set up by volunteers during COVID 19 restrictions

Pakistan, like many parts of the world, has announced a lockdown in most of the country. In some of the cities, however, there is a partial lockdown. The district Kech in Balochistan is partially locked down (from morning till five in the evenings with essential services still open like groceries, vegetables, banks, medical stores etc). However, all of the educational institutions will remain closed till May 31, with a warning that the date may be extended, depending on future developments.

Kech suffers from a great many medical services issues as the government gives very little attention to the affairs of the civil hospital. These have been further slowed down by the corona scare. On the other hand, Kech contains a number of — 286 — registered patients of thalassemia who need blood transfusion on a regular basis (some after every 15 to 20 days and the rest on monthly basis). The district does not own a single blood bank. Despite having three Members of Provincial Assembly (MPA) from the district with a Member of National Assembly (MNA), the need to build a blood bank in the district has not been addressed.

However, for the patients, a team of a social workers from Kech arranged a blood donation camp in the nearby tehsil of Buleda (about an hour and half of travel from Turbat) in order to collect blood for the needy thalassemia patients during the lockdown. Luckily, they got a good response from the locals of Buleda. The camp was set in Ruzhn School Mainaz Buleda under the support of Mr Zahoor Ahmed, the principal of Ruzhn school, and Mr Irshad Arif, a working faculty of Syed Hashmi High School Turbat and founder of Kech Blood Donors Team.

“A great many people supported us during the blood donation camp. I did not expect this kind of crowd since mostly people fear donating blood, but I am really amazed looking at such spirit from the people here, ” says Mr Arif in gratitude to the local people of Buleda. “I am wholeheartedly thankful to Mr Zahoor Ahmed for his kind help in our drive and all the people of Buleda for donating blood with high spirit.”

The principal of Ruzhn School Buleda was pleased looking at the youngsters doing their best to serve humanity. He said he was honoured to be part of the drive and had much hopes from the volunteers. “I was told they (Kech Blood Donors Team) were coming. I thought what would be more beautiful than to getting a chance to give your best to doing something for humanity in this very critical time,” Mr. Ahmed added

The blood camp got a huge number of donors. The team met their target only in four hours. However, many locals were rejected when they came forward to donate blood as they were considered unfit. They stood the whole time only in the hope they would be called back to give blood, added Murad Jan, a volunteer of the team.

The locals of Buleda have always helped when it came to do something for the people of the province. In such a critical time as the children affected by thalassamia are on the verge of death, they have showed their kindness by arranging the blood camps and supporting it to their best.

It is often said “Saving one human life is equal to saving the entire humanity.” The locals of Buleda proved it with their passion to help children fight death.

Despite the generosity of the residents, the government still needs to plan for a blood bank and a thalassemia centre in the district. Health is one of the basic needs that needs to be addressed. The people cast their precious votes and help politicians win elections, it is now their turn to pay back the community by providing basic facilities.

The writer is a student of Law at University Law College Quetta and a former teacher at DELTA in Turbat. He can be reached at alijanmaqsood17@gmail.com and tweets at @Alijanmaqsood12

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are solely that of the author and not of Borderless Journal.

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