Over 1,400 blood units were collected on Red Sunday on Jan. 9, a blood donation day in Hanoi.

The event was organised by the Vanguard Newspaper, National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT) and the HCM Communist Youth Union. It was part of the youth festival for humanitarian blood donation launched by the Youth Union nationwide.

‘By beginning 2011 with a blood donation festival, the Youth Union hopes to encourage compassion among millions of young people to share the difficulties with patients and doctors during the blood shortage period," said the HCM Youth Union Secretary Nguyen Dac Vinh at the event.

The organiser said more than 21,000 people registered to give blood. Donors included students, artists and locals from Hanoi .

Miss Vietnam 2010 Dang Thi Ngoc Han gave blood for the third time and brought excitement and cheer to the charitable event.

"Donating blood is a good deed. We should enlarge the blood donation movement to save more unlucky people", Han said.

Nguyen Thi Hien, a member of the Prison 84 staff in Tu Liem district who donated blood for the third time, said just a small amount of blood could save someone.

"I wish to help unlucky patients have a healthy Tet," Hien said.

The health sector said hospitals have faced blood shortages leading up to Tet, the lunar new year. The blood transfusion institute, NIHBT, said its blood bank currently has about 4,000 blood units, only one-third of the necessary amount.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen said the blood demand is increasing because of modern treatment methods. Ensuring safe and quality blood sources is an urgent and long-term task of the health sector.

The Youth Union said the blood donation festival, with the theme, Share the youth blood – For community health, was also held on Jan. 9 at 12 other provincial youth unions across the country. The remaining areas will hold the event later this month.

The nationwide festival is expected to collect about 40,000 blood units from the 82,000 people who've registered and attract about 150,000 youth participants./.