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Hemoglobin Color Scale
|Health Topic||Maternal mortality|
|Location||Africa, Asia, South America|
Problem being addressed
Early detection of hemorrhage can lead to better treatment and better outcomes for women in postpartum stress. Anemia is an early indicator of postpartum hemorrhage, but many methods of measurement are expensive and/or invasive, which can cause further infection or bleeding.
Detailed description of the solution
This is a simple laboratory test strip that requires a drop of blood on an absorbent test strip. By comparing the color of the drop of blood to a booklet with possible shades of red, the user can assess the presence and severity of anemia.
While this is a widely commercial laboratory tool, it was designed for detection of anemia in pregnant women by WHO with help from PATH. Manufacturer: It is now manufactured by Copack in Germany, licensed by WHO.
When and where it was tested/implemented
The Hemoglobin Color Scale (HbCS) became commercially available in 2011. Results have been reported from a field study at Ntcheu District Hospital in Malawi to compare costs compared to current methods and user-friendliness.
Critchley, J. & Bates, I. 2005. Haemoglobin colour scale for anaemia diagnosis where there is no laboratory: a systematic review. Int J Epidemiology. 34(6), 1425-1434.
Full-text available here
Tatsumi, N., Bunyaratvej. A., Timan, I.S., Aujia, D., Funahara, Y., Sumiyoshi, A., Kondo, T., & Miwa, S. 1999. Field evaluation of WHO hemoglobin color scale in West Java. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 30(S), 177-181.
Abstract available here
Other internally generated reports
Department of Essential Health Technologies. Haemoglobin colour scale: operational research agenda and study design. World Health Organization: PDF available here
Approval by regulatory bodies or standards boards
CE approved. Not FDA approved for use in the USA.