The Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC) will establish an e-blood bank later this year in an effort to ease the nation's blood shortage, said director of the VNRC's Humanitarian Blood Donation Department Nguyen Duc Thuan.

The bank is an on-line data system that links blood donors, or whoever willing to donate blood if requested, with an electronic portal accessible by donors over the internet or mobile devices.

"Patients will access the e-bank and get contact to e-bank representatives from their home provinces and cities for support. The representative will provide them with nearest blood donors and help them connect to blood donors, even at night," said Thuan.

"Many patients don't know where or who to contact when they need blood in emergency cases, especially when hospitals run out of blood," said Thuan.

"The model of e-blood bank has been implemented with good outcomes in other countries," added Thuan.

Thuan said that the e-bank will be experimentally operated from the beginning of May in Hanoi and HCM City and officially launched by the end of November. The VNRC will also promote the bank's information at 100 blood transfusion units at hospitals and medical units nation-wide.

VNRC plans to increase the number of blood donors from the current 6,000 to 15,000 by the end of this year and 80,000 by 2015.

The e-bank is expected to provide 37,500 blood units in 2012, and 160,000 units in 2015, according to Thuan.

The Ministry of Health statistics say that Vietnam currently has met nearly 40 percent of people's blood transfusion demand in hospitals and medical units nationwide.

Last year, the country collected over 675,000 blood units, 84.2 percent coming from volunteers. However, only about 0.78 percent of Vietnamese have ever donated blood. /.