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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine and Health

This Week in PLoS Medicine: Cancer & contraceptives in South Africa; Neonatal care in LMICs; Pregnancy in smoke-free Scotland & more

Image Credit: Kabilan Subramanian

Four new articles were published this week in PLoS Medicine, including the beginning of a series on health systems guidance.

A case-control study conducted by Emily Banks and colleagues in South Africa provides new estimates of the risk of specific cancers of the female reproductive system associated with use of injectable and oral contraceptives.

Abdullah Baqui from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA and colleagues systematically review studies describing newborn care-seeking behaviours by caregivers in low- and middle-income countries. The study’s findings highlight the lack of a standardized and consistent approach to neonate care-seeking behaviours described in the literature. Despite the large variations in results, care seeking for newborn illnesses in LMICs appears to be low in general and remains a key challenge to improving neonatal mortality.

The authors state: “To bring about sustainable improvements in neonatal survival, changes are needed to both increase the demand for newborn care and strengthen health care systems, such as improving access and quality of care and socio-economic inequality through education and literacy initiatives.”

An analysis of pregnancy data by Jill Pell and colleagues for the whole of Scotland demonstrates a reduction in small-for-gestational-age births and preterm delivery since the introduction of legislation banning smoking in enclosed public spaces.

In the first paper in a three-part series on health systems guidance, Xavier Bosch-Capblanch and colleagues examine how guidance is currently formulated in low- and middle-income countries, and the challenges to developing such guidance.

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