The determination of blood haemoglobin levels by comparing undiluted blood with precalibrated colour standards.
A low haemoglobin level indicates anaemia and is due to a reduced number of red cells, reduced amount haemoglobin in each cell or both of these factors in combination. Lack of iron is a primary cause of low red cell count as well as vitamin B12 of folic acid.
Haemoglobin levels are normally determined using laboratory facilities but in cases where these facilities are not available such as disaster zones or bush clinics in isolated community's basic equipment that requires no electricity is essential. The ability to carry out on the spot blood tests will enable the doctor to quickly decide if the patient is in need of urgent hospital treatment.