In Practice

Guideline word limit: 2 000 - 3 000words

This section includes articles that would previously have been accepted into the Forum section, and case reports.

In practice articles are those that draw attention to specific issues of clinical, economic or political interest regarding medicine and healthcare in southern Africa. They are assigned to a topic:


  • Case report
  • Clinical practice
  • Clinical alert
  • Issues in medicine
  • Issues in public health
  • Healthcare delivery
  • Medicine and the environment
  • Medicine and the law
  • Cochrane corner

An In Practice article should follow the following format – sub-headings are not necessary, but may be used for clarity:

  • Author affiliations and qualifications: to be the same as for Research. Provide all authors’ names and initials, qualifications and full affiliations, and corresponding author.
  • Short abstract: does not need to be structured, but should capture the essential features of the article
  • Introduction: the reason for the article and the issue being addressed
  • Recent research, discussion, local policy around the issue – include your own research where appropriate
  • All statements should be referenced and, if opinion only, this should be stated
  • Discussion: how this article adds to the discussion around a particular topic
  • If a clinical practice or policy point is at issue, this needs to be emphasised, using a box with highlights if appropriate.

Essentially In practice is an opportunity for a more discursive approach to topics of clinical, economic or political importance in southern African health systems. It is not an opportunity to put forward unsubstantiated opinions!


Case reports

The SAMJ has recently started to accept case reports. The cases must come from Africa, preferably southern Africa unless the condition is common to all African countries, and must be either a completely new description of a clinical condition or result (use Google!) or a case that highlights important practice or management issues.

Please use the following format for case reports:

  • Title of case: do not include the words ‘a case report’ in the title
  • Summary/abstract:  up to 150 words summarising the case presentation and outcome
  • Background: why is this case important and why did you write it up?
  • Case presentation: presenting features, medical, social, family history as appropriate
  • Case management: should be according to best practice, and if not, please explain why
  • Investigations, if relevant: save space by simply saying ‘normal’ if, for example, renal function was completely normal, rather than listing normal results, highlight the abnormal – or indeed the normal if this is clinically significant
  • Differential diagnosis, if relevant
  • Treatment, if relevant
  • Outcome and follow-up
  • Discussion – a VERY BRIEF review of similar published cases
  • Teaching points: 3 - 5 bullet points
  • References: as per the SAMJ house style
  • Tables and figures: keep to a minimum. Use clinical images where relevant – we need hi-res versions for print, and identifiable persons must have a consent form
  • Patient consent: please include a statement about patient consent to a written case report. This should be uploaded as a supplementary file.