A blood donation campaign called “Red Journey” was launched in Rach Gia city of the southern province of Kien Giang on July 3.

The annual programme hopes to collect at least 19,000 units of blood, said Director of the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion Nguyen Anh Tri.

Participants will tour 25 cities and provinces to encourage more people to join the drive and raise public awareness of thalassaemia – a genetic blood disorder which can lead to heart failure and liver problems.

Vice Chairwoman of Kien Giang provincial People’s Committee Dang Tuyet Em underlined the charitable activity as a contribution to saving many lives.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Vietnam needs nearly 2 million units of blood each year.

About 7 percent of the world population have thalassaemia gene, with Vietnam among the high risk areas. The country records more than 20,000 patients with the disease on an annual basis.

Last year, the Red Journey drew over 100 volunteers travelling to 15 cities and provinces, collecting 6,000 litres of blood.-VNA