Activist On 21,000-Km Walk With A Mission: ‘Nobody Must Die Waiting For Blood’


(MENAFN- IANS) Imphal, Dec 10 (IANS) Amid the ongoing ethnic hostility in Manipur, 38-year-old Delhi-based social activist Kiran Verma, who is on a 21,000-km walk across three countries -- India, Bangladesh and Nepal -- to spread awareness about blood donation, setting up blood banks and enacting laws and policies, is now in Imphal.

After visiting Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Verma, who started his challenging walk from Thiruvananthapuram on December 28, 2021, a time when the Covid-19 pandemic wilted in the country, after visiting restive Manipur would go to Mizoram and Tripura.

“So far I have covered 17,800 km through 230 districts across 18 states and Union territories and reached Imphal on Wednesday,” Verma said, adding that a majority of the districts in the northeastern states do not have blood banks, creating serious problems for the people residing in the far-flung and hilly areas of the region.

Quoting the data of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, he said that 76 districts in India do not have blood banks and of these 76 districts spread across the country, 50 districts are in six of the eight northeastern states.

Of the 16 districts in Manipur, 12 districts do not have blood banks while out of 26 districts, there are no blood banks in 14 districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Speaking to IANS, Verma said :“My ongoing nationwide walk is going to be the longest blood awareness campaign ever by an individual in the world and it will run for more than the next two years.”

He said his mission is to spread awareness about blood donation among people, setting up an adequate number of blood banks in each state and enactment of laws and policies by the Central government so that“nobody should die waiting for blood in India after December 31, 2025.

Owing to the Covid pandemic, voluntary blood donation in India has gone down significantly since the last three years, Verma said his walk is also to encourage around five million new blood donors to donate blood, so that blood banks and hospitals don't run out of blood.

On the ethnic violence in Manipur that has been witnessed since the last over seven months, the social activist appealed to both communities of the people to“save lives” and“give blood wherever possible.”

Highlighting certain breakthrough activities during his mission, Verma said on June 19 this year he walked in three nations – India, Bangladesh and Nepal-- in a single day through West Bengal's Siliguri corridor scripting a unique record by an Indian.

In support of his countrywide walk, 126-blood donation camps have been organised in different parts of the country through which over 26,722 units of blood have been collected, Verma said, adding that there were many incidents during his lone walk mostly in the streets along jungles.

Over 9,000 people have also donated blood at different blood banks across India and abroad to support this campaign, he added.

On September 15 last year, Verma inaugurated a blood bank in Hyderabad under the name of PV Narasimha Rao built by the late Prime Minister's family members.

Ahead of his ongoing campaign, Verma founded“Change With One Foundation” under which he runs two programs --“Simply Blood” and“Change With One Meal.”

“Simply Blood”, the world's first virtual blood donation platform connecting blood donors and seekers in real time without charging anything, was launched on 29 January, 2017 and till date it has saved over 70,000 lives through blood donation.

“Change With One Meal” is an initiative which serves unlimited meals for Rs10 in Delhi.

Till date we have served more than 1,500,000 meals in the last one year, said Verma.

In 2018, Verma travelled 16,000 km across India covering more than 6,000 km on foot for the same cause.

Manipur's leading online media“Waari Singbul Network” quoting Verma said that more than 12,000 people fail to get blood in India every day, due to which more than three million people died waiting for blood.

“If five million youth start donating blood, then there will not be even a single death due to non-availability of blood in India.

'Plasma Crisis' was a serious issue during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Also there is a huge blood shortage in blood banks across India as people are scared of donating blood at hospitals, he said.

Verma added:“It happened as we don't have a culture of donating blood in our country.”

Referring to the health journals and experts, Verma said that there are four major benefits of regular blood donation, a healthy heart, curbing diabetes, safety from cancer and wrinkle free skin.

(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at ...)

--IANS

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