A blood donation campaign was launched in Hanoi on Jan. 7 to welcome the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

Addressing the event, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, National Assembly Vice Chairwoman, affirmed that blood donors are outstanding people who need to receive both spiritual and material support and are worthy of being honoured timely.

Ngan asked the National Steering Board for Voluntary Blood Donations to pay attention to calling on officials, public employees and workers in organisations, businesses and armed forces to actively join the campaign.

Tran Ngoc Tang, President of the Vietnam Red Cross Society and Permanent Deputy Head of the board said that the country collected nearly 770,000 units of blood last year, up 14 percent from the previous year and 88.7 percent of which came from voluntary donors.

However, he said the collected amount of blood only meets 45 percent of the demand. Consequently, the shortage of blood in emergency cases and treatments frequently occurs in localities nationwide, especially on the occasion of Tet and summer.

Under the campaign, each city and province nationwide aims to contribute at least 15 percent of its blood donation target set for 2012.

So far, at least 160,000 people nationwide have registered to give blood and 120,000 blood units have been collected.

As part of the event, the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper in collaboration with the Hanoi Communist Youth Union and the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion will host the Red Sunday 2012 programme on Jan. 8.

Hanoi and the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion will jointly organise the fifth Red Spring blood donation festival, the largest of its kind, in Hanoi, on Feb. 12.

The festival will take place in Quang Binh and Quang Ninh provinces on Jan. 9 and in Ninh Binh province on Jan. 12./.