Randomised Trials in Child Health in Developing Countries. 11th Edition, July 2012-June 2013
(2013; 210 pages)

This booklet is compiled annually to summarize the evidence on child health derived from randomized trials in developing countries over the previous year. The aim is to make this information widely available to paediatricians, nurses, other health workers and administrators in resource poor settings where up-to-date information is hard to find. It is hoped that such information will be helpful in reviewing treatment policies, clinical practice and public health strategies.

The method of searching for studies to include uses PubMed, a search engine that is freely available and widely used in most countries throughout the world. The search strategy has been chosen to try to capture as many relevant studies as possible, although it is possible that some are missed. If you know of a relevant RCT or meta-analysis that has not been included in this year’s review, please let me know. The search strategy is reproducible by anyone with access to the Internet, through http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are far from the only valuable scientific evidence, and some RCTs, because of problems with design or implementation have limited value.

However the method of the Randomized Trial is the Gold Standard for determining attributable benefit or harm from clinical and public health interventions. When done appropriately they eliminate bias and confounding. However their results should not be accepted uncritically and they should be evaluated for quality and validity. Before the result of an RCT can be generalized to another setting there must be consideration of the wider applicability, feasibility and potential for sustainability.

This year 211 studies were identified. These came from all regions of the world, mostly from developing country researchers. Several trials from 2012-13 will lead to significant changes in child health approaches or clinical recommendations.

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