ISSN 1994-3032 print version
ISSN 1999-7671 online version



Scope and policy

The SAJCH is an online, peer–reviewed medical journal devoted to all aspects of health and healthcare of neonates, infants and children, of particular relevance and interest to its southern African readership.
The editorial board encourages research articles from emerging researchers and the publication of research conducted during postgraduate studies (such as the MMed). It carries research articles and letters, editorials, clinical practice and other child health articles and personal opinion, South Africa health–related news, obituaries and general correspondence. Review articles are not encouraged.


Conflict of interest

Conflicts of interest can derive from any kind of relationship or association that may influence authors’ or reviewers’ opinions about the subject matter of a paper. The existence of a conflict – whether actual, perceived or potential – does not preclude publication of an article. However, we aim to ensure that, in such cases, readers have all the information they need to enable them to make an informed assessment about a publication’s message and conclusions. We require that both authors and reviewers declare all sources of support for their research, any personal or financial relationships (including honoraria, speaking fees, gifts received, etc) with relevant individuals or organisations connected to the topic of the paper, and any association with a product or subject that may constitute a real, perceived or potential conflict of interest. If you are unsure whether a specific relationship constitutes a conflict, please contact the editorial team for advice. If a conflict remains undisclosed and is later brought to the attention of the editorial team, it will be considered a serious issue prompting an investigation with the possibility of retraction.


Manuscripts preparation

Preparing an article for anonymous review

To ensure a fair and unbiased review process, all submissions are to include an anonymised version of the manuscript. The exceptions to this requirement are Editorials, Correspondence, Book reviews and Obituary submissions.

Submitting a manuscript that needs additional blinding can slow down your review process, so please be sure to follow these simple guidelines as much as possible:

  • An anonymous version should not contain any author, affiliation or particular institutional details that will enable identification.
  • Please remove title page, acknowledgements, contact details, funding grants to a named person, and any running headers of author names.
  • Mask self–citations by referring to your own work in third person.

General article format/layout

Submitted manuscripts that are not in the correct format specified in these guidelines will be returned to the author(s) for correction prior to being sent for review, which will delay publication.


  • Manuscripts must be written in UK English (this includes spelling).
  • The manuscript must be in Microsoft Word or RTF document format. Text must be 1.5 line spaced, in 12–point Times New Roman font, and contain no unnecessary formatting (such as text in boxes). Pages and lines should be numbered consecutively.
  • Please make your article concise, even if it is below the word limit.
  • Qualifications, full affiliation (department, school/faculty, institution, city, country) and contact details of ALL authors must be provided in the manuscript and in the online submission process.
  • Abbreviations should be spelt out when first used and thereafter used consistently, e.g. 'intravenous (IV)' or 'Department of Health (DoH)'.
  • Scientific measurements must be expressed in SI units except: blood pressure (mmHg) and haemoglobin (g/dL).
  • Litres is denoted with an uppercase L e.g. 'mL' for millilitres).
  • Units should be preceded by a space (except for % and °C), e.g. '40 kg' and '20 cm' but '50%' and '19°C'.
  • Please be sure to insert proper symbols e.g. π not u for micro, a not a for alpha, b not B for beta, etc.
  • Numbers should be written as grouped per thousand–units, i.e. 4 000, 22 160.
  • Quotes should be placed in single quotation marks: i.e. The respondent stated: '...'
  • Round brackets (parentheses) should be used, as opposed to square brackets, which are reserved for denoting concentrations or insertions in direct quotes.
  • If you wish material to be in a box, simply indicate this in the text. You may use the table format – this is the only exception. Please DO NOT use fill, format lines and so on.

SAJCH is a Journal on child health, therefore for articles involving genetics, it is the responsibility of authors to apply the following:

  • Please ensure that all genes are in italics, and proteins/enzymes/hormones are not.
  • Ensure that all genes are presented in the correct case e.g. TP53 not Tp53.
    **NB: Copyeditors cannot be expected to pick up and correct errors wrt the above, although they will raise queries where concerned.
  • Define all genes, proteins and related shorthand terms at first mention, e.g. ‘188del11’ can be glossed as ‘an 11 bp deletion at nucleotide 188.’
  • Use the latest approved gene or protein symbol as appropriate:
    • Human Gene Mapping Workshop (HGMW): genetic notations and symbols
    • HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee: approved gene symbols and nomenclature
    • OMIM: Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (MIM) nomenclature and instructions
    • Bennet et al. Standardized human pedigree nomenclature: Update and assessment of the recommendations of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. J Genet Counsel 2008;17:424–433: standard human pedigree nomenclature.

Preparation notes by article type

  • Research

    Guideline word limit: 3 000 words (excluding abstract and bibliography)
    Research articles describe the background, methods, results and conclusions of an original research study. The article should contain the following sections: introduction, methods, results, discussion and conclusion, and should include a structured abstract (see below). The introduction should be concise – no more than three paragraphs – on the background to the research question, and must include references to other relevant published studies that clearly lay out the rationale for conducting the study. Some common reasons for conducting a study are: to fill a gap in the literature, a logical extension of previous work, or to answer an important clinical question. If other papers related to the same study have been published previously, please make sure to refer to them specifically. Describe the study methods in as much detail as possible so that others would be able to replicate the study should they need to. Where appropriate, sample size calculations should be included to demonstrate that the study is not underpowered. Results should describe the study sample as well as the findings from the study itself, but all interpretation of findings must be kept in the discussion section, which should consider primary outcomes first before any secondary or tertiary findings or post–hoc analyses. The conclusion should briefly summarise the main message of the paper and provide recommendations for further study.

    May include up to 6 illustrations or tables.

    A max of 20 – 25 references

    Structured abstract

    • This should be no more than 250 words, with the following recommended headings:

      • Background: why the study is being done and how it relates to other published work.
      • Objectives: what the study intends to find out
      • Methods: must include study design, number of participants, description of the intervention, primary and secondary outcomes, any specific analyses that were done on the data.
      • Results: first sentence must be brief population and sample description; outline the results according to the methods described. Primary outcomes must be described first, even if they are not the most significant findings of the study.
      • Conclusion: must be supported by the data, include recommendations for further study/actions.

      • Please ensure that the structured abstract is complete, accurate and clear and has been approved by all authors. It should be able to be intelligible to the reader without referral to the main body of the article.

      • Do not include any references in the abstracts.

      Here is an example of a good abstract.

  • Scientific letters/short reports

    These include case reports, side effects of drugs and brief or negative research findings.

    Guideline word limit: 1500 words

    • Abstract: unstructured, of about 100–150 words
    • May include only one illustration or table
    • A maximum of 6 references

  • Editorials

    Guideline word limit: 1 000 words

    These opinion or comment articles are usually commissioned but we are happy to consider and peer review unsolicited editorials. Editorials should be accessible and interesting to readers without specialist knowledge of the subject under discussion and should have an element of topicality (why is a comment on this issue relevant now?) There should be a clear message to the piece, supported by evidence.

    Please make clear the type of evidence that supports each key statement, e.g.:

    • expert opinion
    • personal clinical experience
    • observational studies
    • trials
    • systematic reviews.

  • Review articles

    Review articlesshould always be discussed with the Editor prior to submission.

    Guideline word limit: 4 000 words

    These are welcome, but should be either commissioned or discussed with the Editor before submission. A review article should provide a clear, up–to–date account of the topic and be aimed at non–specialist hospital doctors and general practitioners. They should be aligned to practice in South and/or sub–Saharan Africa and not a precis of reviews published in the international literature

    Please ensure that your article includes:

    • Abstract: unstructured, of about 100–150 words, explaining the review and why it is important,
    • Methods: Outline the sources and selection methods, including search strategy and keywords used for identifying references from online bibliographic databases. Discuss the quality of evidence.
    • When writing: clarify the evidence you used for key statements and the strength of the evidence. Do not present statements or opinions without such evidence, or if you have to, say that there is little or no evidence and that this is opinion. Avoid specialist jargon and abbreviations, and provide advice specific to southern Africa.
    • Personal details: Please supply your qualifications, position and affiliations and MP number (used for CPD points); address, telephone number and fax number, and your e–mail address; and a short personal profile (50 words) and a few words about your current fields of interest.

  • Correspondence (Letters to the Editor)

    Guideline word limit: 400 words

    Letters to the editor should relate either to a paper or article published by the SAJCH or to a topical issue of particular relevance to the journal’s readership

    • May include only one illustration or table
    • Must include a correspondence address.

  • Obituaries

    Guideline word limit: 400 words

    Should be offered within the first year of the practitioner’s death, and may be accompanied by a photograph.


  • If illustrations submitted have been published elsewhere, the author(s) should provide evidence of consent to republication obtained from the copyright holder.
  • Figures must be numbered in Arabic numerals and referred to in the text e.g. '(Fig. 1)'.
  • Each figure must have a caption/legend: Fig. 1. Description (any abbreviations in full).
  • All images must be of high enough resolution/quality for print.
  • All illustrations (graphs, diagrams, charts, etc.) must be in PDF form.
  • Ensure all graph axes are labelled appropriately, with a heading/description and units (as necessary) indicated. Do not include decimal places if not necessary e.g. 0; 1.0; 2.0; 3.0; 4.0 etc.
  • Scans/photos showing a specific feature e.g. Intermediate magnification micrograph of a low malignant potential (LMP) mucinous ovarian tumour. (H&E stain). – include an arrow to show the tumour.
  • Each image must be attached individually as a 'supplementary file' upon submission (not solely embedded in the accompanying manuscript) and named Fig. 1, Fig. 2, etc.


  • Tables should be constructed carefully and simply for intelligible data representation. Unnecessarily complicated tables are strongly discouraged.
  • Large tables will generally not be accepted for publication in their entirety. Please consider shortening and using the text to highlight specific important sections, or offer a large table as an addendum to the publication, but available in full on request from the author.
  • Embed/include each table in the manuscript Word file – do not provide separately as supplementary files.
  • Number each table in Arabic numerals (Table 1, Table 2, etc.) consecutively as they are referred to in the text.
  • Tables must be cell–based (i.e. not constructed with text boxes or tabs) and editable.
  • Ensure each table has a concise title and column headings, and include units where necessary.
  • Footnotes must be indicated with consecutive use of the following symbols: * † ‡ § ¶ || then ** †† ‡‡ etc.

    • Do not: Use [Enter] within a row to make ‘new rows’:

    • Rather:
      Each row of data must have its own proper row:

    • Do not: use separate columns for n and %:

    • Rather:
      Combine into one column, n (%):

    • Do not: have overlapping categories, e.g.:

    • Rather:
      Use <> symbols or numbers that don’t overlap:


NB: Only complete, correctly formatted reference lists in Vancouver style will be accepted. Reference lists must be generated manually and not with the use of reference manager software. Endnotes must not be used.

  • Authors must verify references from original sources.
  • Citations should be inserted in the text as superscript numbers between square brackets, e.g. These regulations are endorsed by the World Health Organization,[2] and others.[3,4–6]
  • All references should be listed at the end of the article in numerical order of appearance in the Vancouver style (not alphabetical order).
  • Approved abbreviations of journal titles must be used; see the List of Journals in Index Medicus.
  • Names and initials of all authors should be given; if there are more than six authors, the first three names should be given followed by et al.
  • Volume and issue numbers should be given.
  • First and last page, in full, should be given e.g.: 1215–1217 not 1215–17.
  • Wherever possible, references must be accompanied by a digital object identifier (DOI) link).
    Authors are encouraged to use the DOI lookup service offered by CrossRef:
    • On the Crossref homepage, paste the article title into the ‘Metadata search’ box.
    • Look for the correct, matching article in the list of results.
    • Click Actions > Cite
    • Alongside 'url =' copy the URL between { }.
    • Provide as follows, e.g.:

    Some examples:

  • Journal references: Price NC, Jacobs NN, Roberts DA, et al. Importance of asking about glaucoma. Stat Med 1998;289(1):350-355.
  • Book references: Jeffcoate N. Principles of Gynaecology. 4th ed. London: Butterworth, 1975:96–101.
  • Chapter/section in a book: Weinstein L, Swartz MN. Pathogenic Properties of Invading Microorganisms. In: Sodeman WA, Sodeman WA, eds. Pathologic Physiology: Mechanisms of Disease. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1974:457–472.
  • Internet references: World Health Organization. The World Health Report 2002 – Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life. Geneva: WHO, 2002. (accessed 16 January 2010).

  • Legal references

    • Government Gazettes:
      National Department of Health, South Africa. National Policy for Health Act, 1990 (Act No. 116 of 1990). Free primary health care services. Government Gazette No. 17507:1514. 1996.
      In this example, 17507 is the Gazette Number. This is followed by :1514 – this is the notice number in this Gazette.

    • Provincial Gazettes:
      Gauteng Province, South Africa; Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs. Publication of the Gauteng health care waste management draft regulations. Gauteng Provincial Gazette No. 373:3003, 2003.

    • Acts:
      South Africa. National Health Act No. 61 of 2003.

    • Regulations to an Act:
      South Africa. National Health Act of 2003. Regulations: Rendering of clinical forensic medicine services. Government Gazette No. 35099, 2012. (Published under Government Notice R176).

    • Bills:
      South Africa. Traditional Health Practitioners Bill, No. B66B–2003, 2006.

    • Green/white papers:
      South Africa. Department of Health Green Paper: National Health Insurance in South Africa. 2011.

    • Case law:
      Rex v Jopp and Another 1949 (4) SA 11 (N)
      Rex v Jopp and Another: Name of the parties concerned
      1949: Date of decision (or when the case was heard)
      (4): Volume number
      SA: SA Law Reports
      11: Page or section number
      (N): In this case Natal – where the case was heard. Similarly, (C) woud indicate Cape, (G) Gauteng, and so on.
    • NOTE: no . after the v

  • Other references (e.g. reports) should follow the same format: Author(s). Title. Publisher place: Publisher name, year; pages.
  • Cited manuscripts that have been accepted but not yet published can be included as references followed by '(in press)'.
  • Unpublished observations and personal communications in the text must not appear in the reference list. The full name of the source person must be provided for personal communications e.g. '...(Prof. Michael Jones, personal communication)'.


Manuscripts submission

To submit an article:

  • Please ensure that you have prepared your manuscript in line with the SAMJ requirements.
  • All submissions should be submitted via Editorial Manager
  • The following are required for your submission to be complete:
    • Anonymous manuscript (unless otherwise stated)
    • Author Agreement form
    • Manuscript
    • Any supplementary files: figures, datasets, patient consent form, permissions for published images, etc.
  • Once the submission has been successfully processed on Editorial Manager, it will undergo a technical check by the Editorial Office before it will be assigned to an editor who will handle the review process. If the author guidelines have not been appropriately followed, the manuscript may be sent back to the author for correcting.
Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. Named authors consent to publication and meet the requirements of authorship as set out by the journal.
  2. The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration.
  3. The text complies with the stylistic and bibliographic requirements in Author Guidelines.
  4. The manuscript is in Microsoft Word or RTF document format. The text is single–spaced, in 12–point Times New Roman font, and contains no unnecessary formatting.
  5. Illustrations/figures are high resolution/quality (not compressed) and in an acceptable format (preferably TIFF or PNG). These must be submitted individually as 'supplementary files' (not solely embedded in the manuscript).
  6. For illustrations/figures or tables that have been published elsewhere, the author has obtained written consent to republication from the copyright holder.
  7. Where possible, references are accompanied by a digital object identifier (DOI) and PubMed ID (PMID)/PubMed Central ID (PMCID).
  8. An abstract has been included where applicable.
  9. The research was approved by a Research Ethics Committee (if applicable)
  10. Any conflict of interest (or competing interests) is indicated by the author(s).


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South African Medical Association
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Pretoria, Gauteng, ZA, 0181
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