Bad Soden, Germany,

Oxygen saves lifes of premature babies

Messer Industrial Gases Partners with East Meets West in Binh Duong Hospital Project

Messer Vietnam Industrial Gases and East Meets West Foundation partner on the Newborn Care Initiative to improve the neonatal intensive care nursery at Binh Duong Hospital. Messer has been located in the province since 1999 and is currently expanding its operations in the province.

Don Kuhlman, Country Manager for Messer and the staff of Messer Vietnam chose this project because of its connection with one of their products, medical gases for respiratory care. The name Messer has been associated with expertise in industrial gases for more than 100 years. Messer, headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany has a long history of philanthropy. “With our Dr. Hans Messer Foundation we focus on helping those who are less fortunate in countries where we operate.” says Stefan Messer, owner of Messer Group and grandson of the founder.

The foundation was established in June 2004 by Ria Messer in honor of her late husband, who passed away in 1997. The donations are used to support charitable causes and people in need. In this way the Dr. Hans-Messer-Foundation aims to help fulfill the company’s responsibility towards society.

The project is part of a nationwide effort by East Meets West Foundation to reduce mortality rates for premature babies in Vietnam. East Meets West has launched the Newborn Care Initiative in conjunction with Project Vietnam of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the International Children Assistance Network (ICAN) to provide training and place equipment in hospitals and clinics across the country which will help save the lives of premature babies with respiratory distress. Over 128,000 premature babies are born in Vietnam each year. Of those, 10% will suffer respiratory distress, and die unless equipment is available for intervention. That means 12,000 children will die – and many more suffer brain damage from oxygen deprivation. A simple machine called Continuous Positive Air Pressure, or CPAP, is the standard of care in western countries.

The Messer foundation has donated three CPAP machines and other pieces of vital equipment to the neonatal intensive care unit at Binh Duong Hospital. “In Vietnam we see ourselves as a partner of those people living here,” emphasizes Don Kuhlman. “We would therefore like to support projects that would directly affect the families of our employees. This type of project is particularly compelling to us as one of our own staff recently experienced the difficulties of premature birth and we truly understand the need for such equipment in Vietnam”

The CPAP machine provides a gentle breath of air to the lungs of these tiny babies. It is less invasive than a ventilator and much more efficient and safer than hand squeezed equipment which if administered improperly can cause damage to fragile lungs. Messer has agreed to a donation of $10,200 which will provide 3 CPAP machines, 3 pulse oximeter-monitors and 3 baby incubator/warmer “baby stations.”

The project goal is to place a sufficient number of machines in every delivery location in Vietnam and provide training on the medical and technical issues of using the equipment. Over 2,000 of these machines are needed throughout Vietnam in provincial clinics and hospitals where births take place. Over 20 hospitals throughout Vietnam have already been supplied with CPAP equipment and multiple training sessions with international experts on neonatal health issues.

Head of Neonatology for Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, Dr. Steven Ringer has made nine trips to Vietnam to assist in training as a volunteer with Project Vietnam, an international health program of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Ringer feels extremely positive about the progress he is seeing in hospitals across Vietnam. He is the lead specialist for the Newborn Care Initiative started in March 2005 by the EMW/ICAN/Project Vietnam partnership to develop life-saving medical services for babies in rural areas of Vietnam.

When Binh Duong General Hospital was evaluated, the Project team found an intense desire to improve ways to care for their tiniest patients. In 2004 over 8,500 babies were delivered at the hospital, and 3,200 requiring special medical care. To save these babies, the neonatal unit needs more than just CPAP machines.

For more information on the organizations involved in the Newborn Care Initiative, please visit and

The Messer Group

Messer is among the leading industrial gas companies and operates in 33 countries in Europe and Asia and in Peru with more than 60 operative companies. The international activities are steered from the region of Frankfurt am Main, the central technical functions logistics, engineering and production and application technology are controlled from Krefeld. Roundabout 4400 employees have generated consolidated revenue of more than 500 million euros in 2004.

With the range from acetylene to Xenon the Messer Group offers a product portfolio that is seen as one of the largest in the market – the company produces industrial gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, helium, welding inert gases, special gases, medical gases and many different gas mixtures.

In the most modern competency centres for research and development the Messer Group develops application technologies for using gases in almost all branches of industry, in foodstuffs technology, medicine and research and science.