The Vietnam Red Cross officially launched a blood donation drive on May 29 specifically for children. '

Deputy Chief of the Vietnam Red Cross Nguyen Huu Hong said the demand for blood specifically for children was growing with the increasing number of procedures available in the country, including heart operations and organ transplants, and the treatment of haemophilia and leukemia. According to Hong, blood banks only met 39 percent of the demand last year.

"Children have less blood in their bodies than adults and struggle to cope with a loss of blood. Only a small blood loss can be potentially fatal," he said. “The severe shortage of blood for young patients is a problem in major hospitals nationwide, so this campaign will be a huge help for thousands of children across the country."

The campaign aims to get 183,500 people to donate about 130,800 units of blood (one unit equals 200ml). It will also present 6,500 gifts to children with a total value of 3 billion VND (143,000 USD).

The campaign is being run under a four month parent programme that started earlier this month. The programme is aimed at building a national on-line database of donors. It also targets to get 6,500 organisations, enterprises and offices to participate, and identify at least 6,500 people who are willing to donate blood when there is an urgent demand./.