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  1. Michael Muir

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    The perinatal mortality rate in rural China is high and raises concerns over the one child policy. Routine family planning records in 20 eastern China townships were examined, with pregnancies followed up from registration to one week after birth. The overall mortality rate was 69 per 1000 births and was higher in the townships with lower income per capita. Early neonatal mortality was 46 per 1000 live births, and girls had a much higher risk, at 69 per 1000 live births compared with 29 per 1000 for boys—a phenomenon the authors suggest is “probably… a result of both the family planning policy and the preference for sons”. (



    Social interventions, such as income supplementation, are considered key elements in reducing health inequalities, but little evidence exists to confirm whether or not they are effective. This is due in part to the inherent difficulty of applying experimental designs to social interventions and the associated ethical issues that can arise from randomising interventions required by all those applicable. However, the authors observe that randomising may in fact be the fairest way of rationing an intervention if so required, and that naturally occurring delays in …

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