The launching ceremony of the Red Journey's northern leg (Source: vov.vn)
Hanoi (VNA) – Volunteers participating in the Red Journey, an annual blood donation campaign, started their northern leg in Hanoi on July 10 which will travel through 12 northern cities and provinces.

Earlier, the journey’s southern leg was launched in Kien Giang province on July 5, with the participants travelling to 15 cities and provinces to promote blood donation.

The two volunteer groups are scheduled to meet in the central province of Thanh Hoa and then head together to Hanoi for a large blood donation festival slated for July 31.

A total of 130 volunteers will join in the 31-day drive, which is organised by the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, the Nhan Ai Vong Tay Viet Joint Stock Company and the VTV News Centre.

During the journey, the volunteers aim to provide advice on blood donation and thalassemia - a genetic blood disease, for 500,000 people and collect around 20,000 blood units, said the organising board.

Since its inception in 2013, the campaign has been held in 42 cities and provinces across the country and gathered nearly 57,000 units of blood, helping rescue thousands of patients.

Vietnam collected 1.15 million units of blood in 2015, surpassing the year’s target figure by 17.8 percent and up 9.7 percent from 2014.

However, blood shortage, particularly blood type A and O, often occurred in summer and prior to the Lunar New Year. The repetition rate of donation was just above 40 percent, compared to between 60 and 70 percent in Japan, Singapore and Australia.

In 2016, the national steering committee for voluntary blood donations plans to collect 1.2 million blood units, 98 percent of which will be sourced from volunteers.-VNA