Central African Journal of Medicine: Submissions

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Author Guidelines

Aims and scope
The Central African Journal of Medicine is a refereed journal which seeks to promote the practice and science of medicine in Zimbabwe, in other parts of Africa, and the rest of the world in general. Original articles are accepted for publication on the understanding that they are contributed exclusively to this journal and become its property. Articles are subject to such alterations as the Editor in his absolute discretion may deem necessary. No major alterations will be made without consent of the author.

Summary of Requirements
Submit two copies of the manuscript on paper and one on diskette, written in English. Type the manuscript double spaced, including title page, structured abstract (summary), text, acknowledgements, references, tables (each table complete with title and footnotes, on a separate page), and legends for illustrations. Illustrations must be good quality, unmounted glossy prints, usually 17 x 173 mm (5 x 7 in.), but no larger than 203 x 254 mm (8 x 10 in.).

When submitting diskettes authors should:
1. Be sure to include two print outs of the manuscript version on the diskette.
2. Make sure the diskette is clearly labelled with the title and name(s) of author(s).
3. The diskette must be IBM compatible on Word Perfect format up to version 6.1.
The submitted manuscript should be accompanied by a covering letter stating that it is solely submitted to this journal and authors should keep copies of everything submitted.

Preparation of Manuscript
Type or print out the manuscript on white bond paper, 216 x 297 mm (8,5 x 11 in.), or ISO A4 (212 X 297 mm), with margins of at least 25 mm (1 in.). Type or print on only one side of the paper. Use double spacing throughout, including title page, abstract (summary), text, acknowledgements, references, individual tables, and legends. Number pages consecutively, beginning with the title page. Put the page number in the upper or lower right hand corner of each page. Tables and figures must be referred to by Roman numerals e.g. Table I. Drugs should be given their approved not proprietary names.

Title page.
The title page should carry:
a) the title of the article which should be concise but informative;
b) initials and last name of each author, with highest academic degree(s) and institutional affiliation;
c) name of department(s) and institution(s) to which the work should be attributed;
d) disclaimers, if any;
e) full name and address of author responsible for correspondence about the manuscript; full name and address of author to whom requests for reprints should be addressed or statement that reprints will not be available from the author.

The second page should carry a structured abstract. An abstract should be of no more than 250 words under the following headings: Objective, Design, Setting, Subjects, Interventions (if any), Main outcome measure(s), Results, Conclusion.

Objective: State the main objective(s) or question(s) addressed in the report.
Design: Describe the basic design of the study using the following terms that may apply to the study e,g

a) Intervention studies: randomized or non-randomized control trial; double blind; placebo control; crossover
trial before-after trial.
b) Screening surveys and diagnostic tests: state the widely accepted standard with which an alternative test is being
compared; blinded or masked comparison.
c) Prognosis: inception cohort (subjects assembled at a time of exposure) or cohort (subjects assembled not necessarily from a common starting point); validation cohort or validation sample if the study involves the modelling of clinical predictions.
d) Causation:randomized control trial; cohort; case control.
e) Descriptive: of the clinical features of medical disorders:
retrospective; case series.
f) Clinical economic evaluation: cost-effectiveness analysis; cost-utility; cost-benefit analysis.
Setting. Describe the study setting(s) such as community based; hospital; primary care or special referral centre.

Subjects. The numbers of subjects or participants should be provided including the drop out rate. The eligibility criteria should be stated.
For selection procedures: the following terms that apply to the study may be used: random sample; population-based sample; referred sample; consecutive sample; volunteer sample; convenience sample.

Intervention(s): The essential features of any intervention should be described, including their method and duration of administration.

Main Outcome Measure(s): State the main outcome measurement(s) as planned before data collection began.

Results: The main results of the study should be given. Measurements that require explanation for the expected audience of the article should be defined. Results must be given in narrative or point form rather than tabular form. If possible, the results should be accompanied by confidence intervals (for example, 95%) and the exact level of statistical significance. For comparative studies, confidence intervals should relate to the difference between groups. When risk changes or effect sizes are given, absolute values should be indicated so that the reader can determine the absolute as well as relative impact of the finding. If appropriate, studies of screening and diagnosis tests should use the terms sensitivity, specificity, and test efficiency. If predictive values are given, prevalence should be given as well. No data should be reported in the abstract that do not appear in the rest of the article.

Conclusion(s): In brief, this should highlight the main findings related to the research question or original hypothesis only. Emphasize new and important aspects of the study or observations.

Text (The Main Body of the Paper):
The text of observational and experimental articles is usually, but not. necessarily divided into sections with the headings: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion and Acknowledgements. Long articles may need sub-headings within some sections to clarify their content, especially the Results and Discussion sections.

Introduction: State the purpose of the article. Summarize the rationale for the study or observation. Give only strictly pertinent references, and do not review the article extensively. Do not include data or conclusions from the work being reported.

Materials and Methods: Describe your selection of the observational or experimental subjects (patients or laboratory animals, including controls) clearly. Identify the methods, apparatus (manufacturer's name and town or country) and procedures in sufficient detail to allow other workers to reproduce the results. Give references to established methods, including statistical methods (see below); provide references and brief descriptions for methods that have been published but are not well known; describe new or substantially modified methods; give reasons for using them, and evaluate their limitations. Identify precisely all drugs and chemicals used, including generic name(s), dose(s), and route(s) of administration.

Ethics: When reporting experiments on human subjects, indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional or regional) or with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 1983. Do not use patient's names, initials or hospital numbers, especially in illustrative material. When reporting experiments on animals, indicate whether the institution's on the National Research Council's guide for, or any national law on, the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.

Statistics: Describe statistical methods with enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to verify the reported results. When possible, quantify findings and present them with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals). Avoid sole reliance on statistical hypothesis testing, such as the use of p values, which fails to convey important quantitative information.

Specify any general-use computer programmes used. Discuss eligibility of experimental subjects. Give details about randomization. Describe the methods for and success of any complications. Give numbers of observations and percentages where appropriate. Report losses to observation (such as dropouts from a clinical trial).
Results: Present your results in logical sequence with the text, tables and illustrations. Do not repeat in the text all the data in the tables or illustrations. Emphasize or summarize only important observations.

Discussion: Emphasize the new and important aspects of the study and the conclusions that follow from them. Do not repeat in detail data or other material given in the Introduction or the Results section. Include in the Discussion section the implications for future research. Relate the observations to other relevant studies.

Conclusions: Link the conclusions with the goals of the study but avoid unqualified statements and conclusions not completely supported by your data. Avoid claiming priority and alluding to work that has not been completed. State new hypotheses when warranted, but clearly label them as such. Recommendations, when appropriate, may be included.

References: Number references consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text. Identify references in text, tables and legends by Arabic numerals in superscript. References cited only in tables or in legends to figures should be numbered in accordance with a sequence established by the first identification in the text of the particular table or figure.
Use the style of the examples below, which are based with slight modifications on the formats used by the US National Library of Medicine in Index Medicus. Consult List of Journals Indexed in January issue of Index Medicus, for abbreviated names of journals.

Try to avoid using abstracts as references: "unpublished observations" and "personal communications" may not be used as references, although references to written, not oral, communications may be inserted (in parenthesis) in the text. Include in the references papers accepted but not yet published; designate the journal and add "In press". Information from manuscripts submitted but not yet accepted should be cited in the text as "unpublished observations" (in parenthesis).

References for study design and statistical methods should be standard works (with pages stated) when possible rather than to papers in which the designs or methods were originally reported.

The references must be verified by the author(s) against the original documents.
List all authors if the number is six or less. If the number exceeds six, list first six followed by et al. Examples of correct forms of references are given below:

Standard journal article.
1. Gelland M. Apparent absence of homosexuality and lesbianism in traditional Zimbabweans. Cent Afr J Med 1985;31: 137-8.
2. You CH, Lee KY, Chey RY, Nenguy R. Electrogastrophic study of patients with unexplained nausea, bloating vomiting. Gastroenterology 1980;79:311-4.
3. Goate AM, Haynes AR, Owen M J, Farall M, James LA, Lai LY, et al. Predisposing locus for Alzheimer's disease on chromosome 21. Lancet 1989;1:351-2.

Organization as author.
4. The Royal Marsden Hospital Bone-Marrow Transplantation Team. Failure of syngenic bone-marrow graft without preconditioning in post-hepatitis marrow apladia. Lancet 1977;2:42-4

Books and other monographs.
1. Eisen HN, Immunology: An introduction to molecular and cellular principles of the immune response. 5th ed. New York: Harper and Row, 1974:406.
2. Weinstein L, Swartz MN. Pathogenic properties of invading microorganisms. In: Sodeman WA Jr, Sodeman WA, editors. Pathological physiology: mechanisms of disease. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1974:457-72.

Other submissions
Review Articles.
The text is not required to follow the same format as original articles. The abstract can be unstructured and there is no need for a Materials and Methods section. The article should not exceed 1 200 words. The reference style remains the same as an original article.

Letters to the Editor.
This is submitted as a letter and should have no more than two tables and one figure for the results section. The text should not exceed 500 words


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Copyright for articles published in this journal is retained by the journal.


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ISSN: 0008-9176
AJOL African Journals Online