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Trial design in developing countries

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 01 October 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:825
  1. P Garner,
  2. T Tan Torres,
  3. P Alonso

    Picture an impoverished region in sub-Saharan Africa where health services are virtually non-existent. A donor funds a group of scientists to test whether regular administration of a prophylactic drug or a micronutrient improves child health. The researchers build a research station, and staff deliver the intervention and record illness and death in the study population. After three years the results are published, the intervention is declared effective, and the scientists move on.

    Yet back at the study site there are still no health services and micronutrients are still not being delivered. Has the research benefited the participants of the study? Should researchers be allowed to spend money and intervene in people's lives without helping to develop services to …

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