Women may not be as common blood donors as men, but the city has several champion blood donor women for whom there is no greater joy than saving precious lives by donating blood.
By donating blood more than 100 times, Dr Usha Rao, former blood transfusion officer at PGIMER, has set an example for others. Now 60, Dr Usha has been donating blood since she was 29 years old.
“I first donated blood when I was studying at Guntur Medical College in Andhra Pradesh. At PGIMER, I met Dr J G Jolly, popularly known as Father of Transfusion Medicine in India. He was my teacher and my inspiration behind being a blood donor,’’ said Dr Usha. “Since 1985, I have been donating blood three or four times in a year and will continue. The joy of helping others is the biggest thing in life.”
Manju Yadav, a homemaker, has donated blood 53 times. A registered donor with PGI, she first realised the importance of blood donation when her son fell ill. “It was in 1993, the doctors said he might need blood. Though my son did not require blood, I realised its importance and became a blood donor,’’ she said. At present, all members of Manju’s family, including her two sons, are regular blood donors.
Sushmita Chakarbarti from Sector 24-A has been donating blood since 1980. “I have done my medical studies from Government Medical College, Calcutta,” she said. “During my post-graduation years, there was a campaign going on at our college, called ‘live for others’… which inspired me.” “For the last 20 years, I have been regularly donating blood twice a year, that is in March and October. The feeling that I am doing something for society gives me immense pleasure,” said Sushmita.
Inspired from her mother, Sushmita’s daughter Adrija, 19, has also started donating blood. Dr Kamla Rani Gupta, from Panchkula, has donated blood 47 times. “During my practice years, one of my patients became very critical, and she needed blood immediately. However, that blood group was not available. My blood matched hers and I decided to donate blood,” she said. Since then, Dr Kamla has been donating blood regularly. She has one daughter who, after being inspired from her mother, has also started donating blood.
Some other champion women donors from the city are Harkiran Kaur from Sector 21-C who has donated blood 71 times, Jaswant Kaur from Mohali who has donated blood 58 times, and Rama Sharma who has donated 52 times. Dr Simerjit Kaur, in charge of the Blood Bank at Government Multi-Speciality Hospital in Sector 16, said, “Women who do not come forward for blood donation should take motivation from such regular donors.’’
She added, “At the blood donation camps organised by GMSH-16, hardly 10 per cent of those who come forward are women. Of them, 30 per cent are sent back because they are anaemic. At the end, very few women donors are left.” Doctors say there are some biological restrictions on women for donating blood regularly. They should not donate during menstruation, while they are pregnant or when they are lactating. Also, the hemoglobin count should be a minimum of 12.5. One should be above 18 years and below 65.
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