- Trish Groves, deputy editor, BMJ
This year’s judges of the research paper of the year award have a tricky task, having to choose between four randomised trials based in very different communities. Three studies were conducted in low and middle income countries; the fourth in Ontario, Canada. Which study will the judges feel has the greatest potential to improve health and healthcare; to help doctors make better decisions about clinical practice, public health, research methodology, or health policy; and to improve health outcomes for patients or populations?
Does training for traditional birth attendants reduce neonatal mortality in rural Zambia?
Neonatal deaths account for more than 40% of deaths in children aged under 5 worldwide, with about 75% occurring in the first week of life, and we’re still some way from achieving the millennium development goal to reduce childhood mortality of two thirds by 2015. Christopher Gill and colleagues conducted a cluster randomised trial with traditional birth attendants in a Zambian province that had rural health centres but no resident doctors and no hospital.1 Among nearly 3500 home deliveries, mortality at 28 days was 45% lower among liveborn infants delivered by attendants in districts randomised to the intervention, compared with attendants in control districts. Mortality within 24 hours of birth was lower too, with 7.8 deaths per 1000 live births for infants in …