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Imagine If Thousands of Medical Researchers Could Have a Quick Conversation: PubMed Commons

Please find below the opening of an article about PubMed Commons, an important new facility to enable post-publication discussion of individual research papers.

Increasing the availability of health research in languages other than English (7)

Currently much research that is undertaken in, say, Mozambique or Cote d'Ivoire, is published in English-language journals and is therefore largely inaccessible to many of those who need it most. It would be unreasonable to expect whole articles to be translated (although a few journals do indeed do this), but it should be relatively easy for a journal to provide translations of abstracts (which are typically less than 300 words), and this would be a minor effort in relation to the increased reach of the research (notwithstanding the limitations of abstracts).

The Lancet: Can available interventions end preventable deaths in mothers, newborn babies, and stillbirths?

'Closure of the quality gap through the provision of effective care for all women and newborn babies delivering in facilities could prevent an estimated 113 000 maternal deaths, 531 000 stillbirths, and 1·325 million neonatal deaths annually by 2020...'

Mobile health and street theatre to improve maternal and child health in Bihar

I was interested to read this article on the BBC Media Action website. The full article is freely available here:

Training school teachers to diagnose and treat children with malaria

Further to my last post, for those interested in innovative collaboration between health and education, take a look at this great blog post by David Melody who recently visited Malawi's south eastern district of Zomba where he saw how innovation is bridging schools and health centres; teachers and health workers.

Should the British National Formulary be freely available online? (7) BNF is now freely available in HINARI countries

The publishers of the BNF (British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society) state: 'Registered users of the BNF website are allowed free access to the core content of the latest edition of the BNF and BNF for Children.. if they reside in ... any of the countries in the HINARI list of countries managed by the World Health Organisation'. I would like to make seven related points:

Should the British National Formulary be freely available online?

If we could make the BNF freely available on the internet world-wide, this would have a huge impact on health information for all. Cuban health professionals have often told me they would love to be able to access both BNF and BNF-C [BNF for Children]. They do not have the financial resources to purchase them online. I suspect many health professionals worldwide feel the same.


Informal rural healthcare providers in North and South India (3)

Healthcare knowledge is one of many factors that contribute to irrational prescribing. You highlight a few of the most important factors, namely profit-driven care; influence of drug companies; and expectations of patients (which are themselves founded on false beliefs). There are many others - we could make a long list. Indeed WHO recognises this and proposes a 12-point approach to address the issue:
- Establishment of a multidisciplinary national body to coordinate policies on medicine use
- Use of clinical guidelines


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