Jaundice is common among neonates and if untreated can lead to kernicterus. Diagnosing neonatal jaundice (NJ) using Kramer’s method (visual assessment) is considered user-friendly in resource-limited areas. However, there are conflicting findings on reliability of the Kramer’s method in the diagnosis of NJ, particularly of black descent. Therefore, study aimed to determine the accuracy of Kramer’s method in comparison to the total serum bilirubin (TSB) test in the diagnosis of NJ among neonates of black descent in Tanzania.


A cross-sectional study was conducted between June and July 2020 at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. A total of 315 neonates were recruited consecutively. In each neonate, jaundice was assessed using Kramer’s method and TSB test. NJ A total of 315 neonates were recruited i. A 2 X 2 table was created for the determination of sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), positive and negative likelihood ratios (+LR/−LR), and diagnostic accuracy (effectiveness) of Kramer’s method. Cohen kappa (κ) was used to analyze the agreement between Kramer’s method and TSB. Association between independent variables and presence of jaundice were assessed using the chi-square test and the p < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.


The prevalence of NJ was 49.8% by Kramer’s method and 63.5% by TSB. The Sensitivity, Specificity, PPV, and NPV of Kramer’s method were 70.5, 86.1, 89.8, and 62.6%, respectively. The +LR and –LR were 5.07 and 0.34, respectively. The diagnostic accuracy of Kramer’s method was 76.1%. There was a moderate agreement between Kramer’s method and TSB results (κ = 0.524, P<0.001). No significant relationship was observed between the independent variables and the presence of NJ.


Kramer has a good positive predictive value. However, due to low sensitivity and NPV one cannot say that overall predictive ability is good. Also, clinical assessment by Kramer’s method should not be used for screening of NJ. Further studies are needed to investigate the utility of other non-invasive techniques in detecting NJ among neonates of black descent. MORE….