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This Global Health Medical Device is designed for or implemented within resource-limited settings - Browse the devices - Add a device

Health Topic Child mortality
Classification Diagnosis
Scope Commercialized
Location Africa, Asia, South America

Problem being addressed[edit]

In the absence of appropriate interventions, low birth weight infants are at increased risk for illness, developmental delay and death. Identifying low birth weight children in resource-poor settings requires an inexpensive, accurate and portable scale that can be understood with minimal literacy or training.

Detailed description of the solution[edit]

The BIRTHweigh III is a portable handheld non-electronic scale that uses a plastic spring to gauge low birth weight status among newborns. Based on WHO cutoff weights and using color codes, the scale categorizes newborns into normal (>2500 g) birth weight, low (2000-2499 g) birth weight, and very low (<2000 g) birth weight. The three-way classification also has applications for correct dosing of antibiotics to newborns.

Designed by[edit]

  • Designed by: Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), PO Box 900922 Seattle, WA 98109
  • Manufacturing: PATH is working to identify manufacturers in the countries where the technology is most needed.


A licensed version is currently for sale worldwide through Unicef under the name BeBeWay.

Funding Source[edit]

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provides public funding. Save the Children provides philanthropic funding.


Peer-reviewed publication[edit]

Darmstadt GL, Kumar V, Shearer JC et al. (2007.) Validation of accuracy and community acceptance of the BIRTHweigh III scale for categorizing newborn weight in rural India. Journal of Perinatology 27:602-608. Link available here.

Mullany LC, Darmstadt GL, Coffey P et al. (2006.) A low cost, colour coded, hand held spring scale accurately categorises birth weight in low resource settings. Archives of Disease in Childhood 91(5): 410–413. Link available here.

Other internally generated reports[edit]

PATH. (2008.) Technology solutions for global health: BIRTHweigh III. PDF available here.