At the opening ceremony in Hanoi (Source: VNA)
Hai Phong (VNA) – A voluntary blood donation festival in the northern port city of Hai Phong collected more than 300 units of blood during the opening day on July 11.

The festival is part of the fourth “Red Journey 2016” campaign, which kicked off in Hanoi on July 10.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Xuan Binh, who is also head of the city’s steering committee for mobilising voluntary blood donations, expressed his thanks to blood donors and called on the public to respond to the event.

A total of 130 volunteers will join in the 31-day campaign, 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 donations and thalassemia – a genetic blood disease, for 500,000 people, and collect around 20,000 units of blood, 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 shortages, particularly blood type A and O, often occurred in summer and prior to the Lunar New Year. The repetition rate of donations 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