The National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT) has asked for blood donations, saying the blood bank had only a week's supply of blood left.

This is the first time the largest blood bank in northern Vietnam has issued such an appeal.

The NIHBT said there were only 230 units of blood group A left, which was seven times lower than the ‘safe threshold'.

One unit of blood is roughly equivalent to one pint (450ml).

The average adult has 10 pints of blood in his or her body.

The volume of blood group O – which can substitute for all other blood groups – was decreasing, NIHBT warned.

This means that if the stock of blood group A runs out, there will be insufficient stock of blood group O to substitute blood group A.

In an interview with Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper, Vice Director of the institute Pham Tuan Duong said he did not expect the supply of blood to improve till the start of a national blood donation campaign entitled Red Journey, scheduled for July 5.

He said his institute needed 150 units of blood group A, and between 230 and 250 units of blood group O every day. All in all, the institute needs 5,000 units of donated blood per week.

Duong said in the first two weeks of June already, the amount of donated blood had fallen by 40 percent.

"Meanwhile, the demand for blood from patients remains unchanged as compared with the previous months' averages," Duong said.

He said the scarcity of donated blood was probably due to the fact that it was vacation time of students, who usually are a strong army of blood donors, and the hot weather that prevented people from visiting donation centres.

The NIHBT's blood bank is fed by blood donations from 12 provinces and 29 districts of Hanoi.

The blood bank supplies blood to 120 hospitals in Hanoi and other northern provinces.

A number of hospitals with high blood demand in Hanoi, including Bach Mai Hospital and E Hospital, have said their blood reserves could meet only 15 percent of the demand in their hospitals.-VNA