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[Editorial] COVID-19: a stress test for trust in science

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
Peer Review Week is the annual celebration of the importance of peer review, running Sept 21–25. The theme this year is trust in peer review, a particularly appropriate focus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trust in research and its role in political decision making and policy changes have never been more at the forefront of public discussion and scrutiny than during the current public health crisis. But what is everyone's role in strengthening this trust?

[Comment] Preprints with The Lancet are here to stay

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
We started our collaboration with the freely accessible preprint platform SSRN in June, 2018.1 From then on, we asked all authors of research papers across Lancet journals at submission stage whether they would like to post their paper as a preprint. We started this as a trial to learn more about uptake and the perceptions of the medical and health community, particularly as a latecomer to the preprint concept.

[Comment] Offline: Remembering the scientists

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
One of the most frightening aspects of reading Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year (1722), his imaginative account of the 1665 Great Plague, is his depiction of the total terror that enveloped London. No one, physicians included, had the slightest clue about the cause of “the Distemper”. The best that could be done was to paint a red cross on the doors of those afflicted, padlock them shut, and place watchmen outside to ensure nobody escaped. As bodies accumulated, giant pits were filled with infected corpses.

[World Report] Understanding Mexican health worker COVID-19 deaths

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
An Amnesty International report says that more health workers have died in Mexico than anywhere else. David Agren explores why.

[World Report] Brazilian doctors condemn new rules on abortion

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
Experts say that the new rules for health workers will discourage access to health services and increase the risk of unsafe abortion. Lise Alves reports from São Paulo.

[Perspectives] Human rights parables for a post-pandemic world

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
Before the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the structural inequalities across societies, there were diverging parables in human rights. One narrative identified the populist challenge to human rights and juxtaposed it with the cosmopolitan ideal of a multilateral order. An alternative narrative viewed populism as the symptom of democratic failure more than the cause and argued that the crisis of legitimacy facing the neoliberal, multilateral order was inextricably connected to a world where capitalist democracies have become “mere façade democracies”, as Jürgen Habermas has asserted.

[Perspectives] A history of herd immunity

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
As many countries around the world recognised the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, 2020, some seemed to put their faith in herd immunity. UK pandemic adviser Graham Medley, for example, said that “We are going to have to generate what we call herd immunity”, which would require “a nice big epidemic”. When the idea received furious criticism, British officials denied that herd immunity had ever been part of their plan. A run at herd immunity in Sweden prompted mathematician Marcus Carlsson to object: “we are being herded like a flock of sheep toward disaster”.

[Obituary] Peter Nicholas Kazembe

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
Influential paediatrician in Malawi. He was born in Nkhotakota, Malawi, on Aug 28, 1954, and died of cholangiocarcinoma in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Aug 11, 2020, aged 65 years.

[Correspondence] The double burden of malnutrition—further perspective

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
In December, 2019, The Lancet published a Series on the double burden of malnutrition—the coexistence of overweight and obesity alongside undernutrition.

[Correspondence] The double burden of malnutrition—further perspective

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
In the Lancet Series on the double burden of malnutrition, Corinna Hawkes and colleagues1 highlight the new nutrition reality, irrespective of the economic status of a country, and calls for concerted global action to address this serious public health challenge. In this context, we present a regional perspective to enrich the proposed double-duty action plan to tackle all forms of malnutrition.1

[Correspondence] The double burden of malnutrition—further perspective

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
We congratulate Corinna Hawkes and colleagues1 on their Series paper that proposes adoption of double-duty actions to combat all forms of malnutrition.However, we have concerns about the way that unhealthy foods are characterised and the description of potential risks associated with energy-dense micronutrient-fortified foods for the prevention or treatment of undernutrition.

[Correspondence] The double burden of malnutrition—further perspective – Authors' reply

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
We thank Saskia Osendarp and colleagues, Mohammad Sorowar Hossain and colleagues, and Christine Stewart and colleagues for their responses to the Lancet Series on the double burden of malnutrition. They make some relevant points that we would like to address here.

[Correspondence] Mistreatment during childbirth

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
We read with great interest the results of the cross-sectional study and community-based surveys, presented by Meghan Bohren and colleagues,1 showing that more than a third of women experienced mistreatment during childbirth. Younger and less educated women were most at risk, suggesting inequalities in treatment during childbirth.1

[Correspondence] Mistreatment during childbirth

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
We laud Meghan Bohren and colleagues1 for using standardised structured direct labour observations, triangulated with survey data, in a multinational study to measure mistreatment during childbirth. Their findings showed that 41·6% of women experienced a type of abuse during labour.1 Direct observations offer a unique opportunity to assess quality of care because they can capture the structure, clinical perspective, and experience of care dimensions.2–4 However, the Article could have benefited from a discussion about how patients' rights and welfare were upheld during observations.

[Correspondence] Mistreatment during childbirth

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
The striking data presented by Meghan Bohren and colleagues1 provide clear evidence of the need for global attention on respectful treatment in obstetric care. It is imperative to develop and implement interventions to assure that every woman in the world receives respectful, high quality intrapartum care.

[Correspondence] Mistreatment during childbirth – Authors' reply

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
We thank Maria Helena da Silva Bastos and colleagues, Natasha Housseine and colleagues, and Caitlin Williams and José Belizán for their interest in our Article,1 in which we described how more than a third of women experienced mistreatment during childbirth, including physical and verbal abuse, discrimination, and non-consented procedures in four countries.

[Department of Error] Department of Error

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
von Dadelszen P, Bhutta ZA, Sharma S, et al. The Community-Level Interventions for Pre-eclampsia (CLIP) cluster randomised trials in Mozambique, Pakistan, and India: an individual participant-level meta-analysis. Lancet 2020; 396: 553–63—The appendix of this Article has been corrected as of Sept 17, 2020.

[Correspondence] Brazil's COVID-19 response

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
We read with interest the Editorial1 about Brazil's response to COVID-19. As Brazilian scientists, we would like to express major concerns about the multiple crises that our country is facing.

[Correspondence] Brazil's COVID-19 response

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
Partisan politics during the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered any efforts of working together with science for the greater good of Brazil. As a Brazilian who values life, I do not know what scares me more: contracting COVID-19, or Bolsonaro's Government trying to belittle the disease, forcing us out of the door to confront it, even when they know that we have not done enough as a country to make it safe for us to do so. Although COVID-19 is showing us all that we still have a long way to go to overcome this crisis, which, at the time of writing, has killed approximately 1000 people a day over the past 3 months, the more disheartening thought is that this government does not seem to care one way or another whether people are dying or not.

[Correspondence] Brazil's COVID-19 response

Sa, 19/09/2020 - 00:00
The Editorial1 about Brazil's response to COVID-19 has caused heated debate among physicians working on the Brazilian health-care frontline against COVID-19 about whether or not there is a place for politics in a high-impact medical journal.