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Instructions for authors

The purpose of this guide is to support authors in their preparation of manuscripts for submission to The Africa Health Agenda International Journal (AHAIJ).

  1. General
  2. Submission of a manuscript
  3. Organization of full-length research papers. Get Templates in English
  4. Organization of a full-length Best Practices/ Field experiences paper
  5. Revised Manuscripts
  6. Proofs
  7. Permissions
  8. Copyright
  9. Publication and peer review process
  10. Online submission
  11. Article Processing Charges
  12. AHAIJ record retention policy
  13. AHAIJ correction policy
  14. Publisher’s retraction policy
  15. Permanent archiving of content

1. General

The Africa Health Agenda International Journal (AHAIJ) is a peer reviewed, open access journal which was established as a recommendation of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) held in March 7-9, 2017 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya. The conference was hosted by Amref Health Africa, Ministry of Health (Kenya) and World Health Organization (WHO) among other partners. A soft launch for the journal was held on December 6, 2017 in Dakar, Senegal with the inaugural articles published in February 2018.

The authors should submit their original research and systematic reviews in Public health and health systems strengthening research in Africa. Manuscripts submitted must not have been published nor being under consideration for publication in any other journal.

Manuscripts must be submitted by one of the authors and not by anyone on their behalf. The submitting author takes responsibility for the article during submission and as the corresponding author during the peer reviewing process.

The language of publication is English. Poor English does not prevent acceptance provided the paper's content is of high scientific quality. All accepted manuscripts are copy-edited.

After initial screening, which takes only a few days, manuscripts are sent to two-three peer reviewers from our multidisciplinary team. If appropriate, a statistical reviewer can be involved. On average, we will report back to authors within 1-2 weeks with a first decision.

During submission you are required to provide a cover letter. Use this to explain why your manuscript should be published in the journal and to elaborate on any issues relating to the submission and instructions for authors.

AHAIJ content licensing: Articles published in AHAIJ are open access, meaning they can be accessed and reused without restrictions. More specifically articles published in AHAIJ are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

2. Submission of a paper

Online submission
AHAIJ only accepts online submission. Click here to access the Online Manuscript Submission System. Simple onscreen instructions are provided. If you experience problems with the online submission system, send an email to [email protected]. Do not send your manuscript to that email address, it will be ignored.

Conflicts of interest
Will be mentioned in the manuscript as “Authors declared they have no conflicts of interest”.

3. Organization of a full-length research paper. Get Template

Download the journal manuscript template to help you format your manuscript. Templates.

Maximum length: 4000 words in main text (i.e., excluding abstract, references, legends, tables and figures), 7 tables/figures , and a structured abstract of 250 words plus up to 50 references.

Title page - This page should states: a) The title of the paper (include the study design if appropriate; for example: A versus B in the treatment of C: a randomized controlled trial; X is a risk factor for Y: a case control study), b) Authors names (full name - no qualification. Strictly follow this order: First Name, Middle name (if ever), Last Name. E.g.: Paul Ouma Akuna), c) institution(s) of origin, d) Corresponding author plus his/her address, telephone and fax number, e-mail address, e) Word count (for both abstract and the main text)

Abstract - The abstract of the manuscript should not exceed 250 words and must be structured into separate sections: Background: the context and purpose of the study; Methods: how the study was performed and statistical tests used; Results: the main findings; Conclusion: brief summary and potential implications. Please minimize the use of abbreviations and do not cite references in the abstract.

Keywords. Up to ten keywords (suitable for Index Medicus listing) should be provided at the end of the Abstract.
Abbreviations a list of abbreviations is not accepted. Define abbreviations the first time they are used in the text and use them thereafter. No abbreviations in the abstract except for the very known ones.

Background The background section should be written from the standpoint of researchers without specialist knowledge in that area and must clearly state - and, if helpful, illustrate - the background to the research and its aims. Reports of clinical research should, where appropriate, include a summary of a search of the literature to indicate why this study was necessary and what it aimed to contribute to the field. The section should end with a very brief statement of what is being reported in the article.

Methods Sufficient information should be given to permit repetition of the experimental work. This should include the design of the study, the setting, the type of participants or materials involved, a clear description of all interventions and comparisons, and the type of analysis used, including a power calculation if appropriate.

Results - The Results should be stated concisely without discussion and should not normally contain any references. Do not repeat all the data that is set out in the tables or figures in the text; emphasize or summarize only important observations.

Discussion - The Discussion should deal with the interpretation of the results and not recapitulate them. We encourage authors to write their Discussion in a structured way, as follows:a) statement of principal findings; b) strengths and weaknesses of the study; c) strengths and weaknesses in relation to other studies; d) discussion of important differences in results; e) meaning of the study; f) unanswered questions and future research.

Conclusion - The conclusion should provide a brief summarize of the key findings, potential implications and the way forward.

What is already known on this topic: include a maximum of 03 bullet points on what is already known on this topic.

What this study adds: include a maximum of 03 bullet points on what your study adds.

Acknowledgements - Please acknowledge anyone who contributed towards the study by making substantial contributions to conception, design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data, or who was involved in drafting the manuscript or revising it critically for important intellectual content, but who does not meet the criteria for authorship. Please also include their source(s) of funding. Please also acknowledge anyone who contributed materials essential for the study. The role of a medical writer must be included in the acknowledgements section, including their source(s) of funding. Authors should obtain permission to acknowledge from all those mentioned in the Acknowledgements. Please list the source(s) of funding for the study, for each author, and for the manuscript preparation in the acknowledgements section. Authors must describe the role of the funding body, if any, in study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; and in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Competing interest - Authors are responsible for recognizing and disclosing conflicts of interest that might bias their work. They should acknowledge in the manuscript all financial support for the work and other personal connections. Authors are required to complete a declaration of competing interests. All competing interests that are declared will be listed at the end of published articles. Where an author gives no competing interests, the listing will read 'The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests'. When completing your declaration, please consider the following questions:

Financial competing interests

  • In the past five years have you received reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of this manuscript, either now or in the future? Is such an organization financing this manuscript (including the article-processing charge)? If so, please specify.
  • Do you hold any stocks or shares in an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of this manuscript, either now or in the future? If so, please specify
  • Do you hold or are you currently applying for any patents relating to the content of the manuscript? Have you received reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that holds or has applied for patents relating to the content of the manuscript? If so, please specify.
  • Do you have any other financial competing interests? If so, please specify.
Non-financial competing interests
  • Are there any non-financial competing interests (political, personal, religious, ideological, academic, intellectual, commercial or any other) to declare in relation to this manuscript? If so, please specify.
  • If you are unsure as to whether you, or one your co-authors, has a competing interest please discuss it with the editorial office.

Authors' contributions - In order to give appropriate credit to each author of a paper, the individual contributions of authors to the manuscript should be specified in this section. The Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (URM) of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME) recommends the following criteria for authorship (Learn more about the URM on Authorship and Contributorship):

  • Authorship credit should be based on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and 3) final approval of the version to be published. Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, and 3.
  • When a large, multicenter group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript (3). These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship/contributorship defined above, and editors will ask these individuals to complete journal-specific author and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding author should clearly indicate the preferred citation and identify all individual authors as well as the group name. Journals generally list other members of the group in the Acknowledgments. The NLM indexes the group name and the names of individuals the group has identified as being directly responsible for the manuscript; it also lists the names of collaborators if they are listed in Acknowledgments.
  • Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship.
  • All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify should be listed.
  • Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.

References - References must be numbered consecutively, in square brackets (like this [1], or this [2,3] or even this [4-7]), in the order in which they are cited in the text, followed by any in tables or legends. Reference citations should not appear in titles or headings. Each reference must have an individual reference number. Preferably, limit the number of references to 50. If automatic numbering systems are used, the reference numbers must be finalized and the bibliography must be fully formatted before submission. We encourage authors to use a recent version of EndNote (version 5 and above) or Reference Manager when formatting their reference list, as this allows references to be automatically extracted. Examples of the AHAIJ reference style are shown below. Please take care to follow the reference style precisely; references not in the correct style may be retyped, necessitating tedious proofreading.

We strongly advocate the use of Zotero, a free and open source reference management software which is a very good alternative to expensive software like Reference Manager or EndNote.

Manuscripts not formatted according to the AHAIJ style will be returned to the authors. An example is provided below (note the use of the dot after the author list, the title, the journal and the date).

  1. Kirikou Thomas, Doe JA, Shaba KV, Kashawa Tuma. A sample of the AHAIJ reference style as shown on the journal website. J Hist Fant. 2006; 76(11):204-212
  2. Kirikou Thomas, Doe JA, Shaba Kevin, Kashawa TB. Another sample of the AHAIJ reference style: as shown on the journal website. J Hist Fant. 2006; 76(12):212-228
  3. Kirikou TA, Doe John, Shaba KV, Kashawa TB. Another sample of the AHAIJ reference style: as shown on the journal website. J Hist Fant. 2006; 76:212-228

Formatting book references: Use the format below to reference a book
Author of the book. Title of the book. Year of publication. Publisher Location. Publisher name
Example: Fleiss JL. Statistical methods for rates and proportions - 3rd edition. 2003. Hoboken. J Wiley
NB: Note the use of dots to separate the sections of the book reference.

Formatting web references: Use the format below to reference a web page or a web site
Author of the page. Name of the source (if any). Year of data. url. Date link accessed
Example: SAS Institute. SAS 9. Accessed 10 April 2005
NB: Note the use of dots to separate the sections of the web reference.

Supplementary material/Appendices (if any) - Submit any supplementary material to the editorial office by email. The editorial office can also decide which material will be published as supplemental material.

Tables (if any) - General instructions for tables.

  • Append tables at the end of your manuscript, after the reference section
  • Maximum 7 tables/figures per article. If more tables are required, it will have to be justified
  • Each table should fit on one page. No table overlapping over several pages. So no matter the size of the table, make sure it can comfortably fit on a single page (portrait or landscape)
  • Elements inside the table should be contained within cells.

Download samples of correctly formatted tables (Microsoft Word 2002-2003, *.DOC): Table 1, Table 2.

Figures (if any) - General instructions for figures.

  • Include a legend for your images inside the main text, after the reference section
  • Should be provided as separated files during the manuscript submission. Do not embed images within the main text.
  • Major image formats are accepted excluding BMP. (JPEG, PNG, TIFF)
  • Provide high resolution images, not tiny thumbnails. Image of poor quality will be rejected.
  • The size of the uploaded image is limited to 4 MB.

Files must be named with the three letter file extension appropriate to the file type (eg: .jpeg, .png). You will be asked to provide figure labels during the submission process. (The label is the small comment that usually goes with the figure. Example: Figure 1: Prevalence of diabetes in the study population aged 18 years and above. Findings of the TRICARE Diabetes Study, Uganda, 2006.)
If you use excel to generate your graph, avoid 3D, crowded axes, colored background, strong grid etc.. Use Tahoma font (size 10 maximum) for all items in your graphs (Title, legend, axes etc..). Expand your Excel graph to obtain a large image, copy and paste it in Paint (Microsoft Paint), crop any white border and save the image as PNG or JPEG. Submit this image for your manuscript (don't forget to include the legends for each figure inside the main manuscript) Look at an acceptable formatted Excel graph here. See the detailed sample instructions for a nicely formatted Excel graph here.

4. Organization of a full-length Best Practices/ Field experience paper Get Template

Maximum length
The maximum acceptable length is 2,000 words in the main text (excluding abstract, references, legends, tables and figures), 7 tables and/or figures, an abstract of 250 words, and up to 25 references.

Title page7
This should include: -

  1. Title of the article presented in bold, not underlined and no full stop at the end
  2. Authors details (full name without initials and no qualifications)
  3. Institution(s) of affiliation
  4. Corresponding author (address, telephone and email address)
  5. Word count (for both the abstract and main text)

The abstract should contain maximum of 250 words and flexible in structure, that is, may be presented in sections or remain unstructured. In both formats it should address the purpose or issue(s) addressed; overview of the intervention, project, experience, service etc that was undertaken. The authors may consider including the precise lessons learnt and implications of the intervention/ project or simply describe the field experience that they wish to share with other researchers and policy makers. Simply, AHAIJ is flexible on the format of the abstract.

Do not include references, figures or tables in the abstract.
Keywords: Include up to ten keywords (suitable for Index Medicus listing) at the end of the Abstract.
Abbreviations: Do not include a list of abbreviations. Abbreviations used in the text should be defined in the text when they are first used.

Main Text
The best practices/ field experience articles main text is flexible as is the abstract. However, the authors should discuss the issue(s) of focus and programme/ intervention in detail. The description may be followed with key lessons learnt, implications to policy, challenges and recommendations. The text format is subject to author(s) preference depending on the nature of the individual study. Authors are encouraged to be clear and concise in articulating issues in whichever format they choose to use.
For details on what is known about this topic, what this study adds, acknowledgements, competing interests, authors’ contributions, tables/ figures and referencing style; refer to the instructions in the scientific format.

5. Revised Manuscripts

If you are asked to revise your manuscript yuo will be expected to provide a covering letter that responds in detail to each point raised by reviewers or editors, and to highlight new material in the text using a different color (do not use the 'track changes' mode of Word). If a manuscript returned to the authors for revision is not returned to the Editorial office within the stipulated time-period (usually 4 weeks, it will be treated as a new manuscript.

6. Proofs

An email is sent to the corresponding author for final proofs. Typographical errors only should be corrected. The corrected proof should be returned within 48 hours. Failure to comply with this deadline will delay publication.

7. Permissions

Verbatim material or illustrations taken from other published sources must be accompanied by a written statement from the author, and from the publisher if holding the copyright, giving permission to AHAIJ for reproduction.

8. Copyright

The author(s) keep(s) the copyright to his/their article if and when the article is accepted for publication. The copyright covers the exclusive and unlimited rights to reproduce and distribute the article in any form of reproduction (printing, electronic media or any other form); it also covers translation rights for all languages and countries. For more information about the copyright, see our copyright agreement.

9. Publication and peer review processes

1. Key points

AHAIJ uses online peer review to speed up the publication process. Submitted manuscripts will be sent to peer reviewers, unless they are either out of scope or below threshold for the journal.

Competing interests are sought from authors and reviewers. Reviewers declare any competing interests and have to agree to open peer review. This implies that authors and reviewers agreed that if the manuscript is published, the peer review will be made available to the readers. The pre-publication history (initial submission, reviews and revisions) is then posted on the web with the published article.

The article will be available online and in PDF format. The ultimate responsibility for any decision lies with the Editor-in-Chief, to whom any appeals against rejection should be addressed.

Each author will be asked to provide the contact details (including e-mail addresses) of at least 2 potential peer reviewers for their manuscript. These should be experts in their field of study, who will be able to provide an objective assessment of the manuscript. However, any suggested peer reviewers should not have published with any of the authors of the manuscript within the past five years and should not be members of the same research institution. Members of the Editorial Board of the journal can be nominated. Suggested reviewers will be considered alongside potential reviewers identified by their publication record or recommended by Editorial Board members.

Reviewers are asked whether the manuscript is scientifically sound and coherent, how interesting it is and whether the quality of the writing is acceptable. Where possible, the final decision is made on the basis that the peer reviewers are in accordance with one another, or that at least there is no strong dissenting view. In cases where there is strong disagreement either among peer reviewers or between the authors and peer reviewers, advice is sought from a member of the journal's Editorial Board. The journal allows a maximum of two revisions of any manuscripts.

Reviewers are also asked to indicate which articles they consider to be especially interesting or significant. These articles may be given greater prominence and greater external publicity.

2. Editorial policies

Any manuscript or substantial parts of it, submitted to AHAIJ must not be under consideration by any other journal. The manuscript should not have already been published in any journal or other citable form, with the exception that the journal is willing to consider peer-reviewing manuscripts that are translations of articles originally published in another language. In this case, the consent of the journal in which the article was originally published must be obtained and the fact that the article has already been published must be made clear on submission and stated in the abstract. Authors who publish in AHAIJ retain copyright to their work. Correspondence concerning articles published in AHAIJ is encouraged.

Submission of a manuscript to AHAIJ implies that all authors have read and agreed to its content, and that any research that is reported in the manuscript has been performed with the approval of an appropriate ethics committee. Research carried out on humans must be in compliance with the Helsinki Declaration, and any experimental research on animals must follow internationally recognized guidelines. A statement to this effect must appear in the Methods section of the manuscript, including the name of the body which gave approval, with a reference number where appropriate. Informed consent must also be documented. Manuscripts may be rejected if the editorial office considers that the research has not been carried out within an ethical framework, e.g. if the severity of the experimental procedure is not justified by the value of the knowledge gained.

Generic drug names should generally be used. When proprietary brands are used in research, include the brand names in parentheses in the Methods section.

We ask authors of AHAIJ papers to complete a declaration of competing interests, which should be provided as a separate section of the manuscript, to follow the Acknowledgements. Where an author gives no competing interests, the listing will read 'The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests'. To learn more about competing interests the following articles provide some background:

  • Morin K, Rakatansky H, Riddick Jr FA, Morse LJ, O'Bannon 3rd JM, Goldrich MS, Ray P, Weiss M, Sade RM, Spillman MA.Managing conflicts of interest in the conduct of clinical trials. JAMA. 2002 Jan 2;287(1):78-84.
  • DeAngelis CD, Fontanarosa PB, Flanagin A. Reporting financial conflicts of interest and relationships between investigators and research sponsors. JAMA. 2001 Jul 4;286(1):89-91.
  • Smith R. Beyond conflicts of interest. BMJ. 1998; 317 :291. []
  • Smith R.Making progress with competing interests. BMJ. 2002; 325 :1375. []

For all articles that include information or clinical photographs relating to individual patients, written and signed consent from each patient to publish must also be mailed or faxed to the editorial staff. The manuscript should also include a statement to this effect in the Acknowledgements section, as follows: "Written consent for publication was obtained from the patient or their relative."

10. Online submission

1. Requirements

You will need the following to complete the submission of your manuscript:

  • Name and email addresses of all authors.
  • Correctly formatted manuscript: Microsoft Word (version 3 and above). Get manuscript template here
  • Correctly formatted figures in one of the acceptable formats (see Figures).
  • Cover letter that explains why the journal should consider your manuscript, declares any competing interests and confirms that the manuscript is not currently considered for publication in any other journals.

2. AHAIJ reference style

We strongly encourage authors to use a reference software to format references. Output styles for Reference Manager and EndNote are provided below. In case these software aren't available, format your references manually.
A sample of the AHAIJ reference style below [1,2].

  1. Kirikou Thomas, Doe John, Shaba Kevin, Kashawa Tuma. A sample of the AHAIJ reference style as shown on the journal website. J Hist Fant. 2006; 76(11):204-212
  2. Kirikou Thomas, Doe John, Shaba Kevin, Kashawa Tuma. Another sample of the AHAIJ reference style: as shown on the journal website. J Hist Fant. 2006; 76(12):212-228

Download journal output style for Reference Manager
Download journal output style for EndNote
Download journal output style for Zotero

Access the online Manuscript Submission System.

11. AHAIJ record retention policy

Material and records created during the submission process will be archived. Once archived, these material will no longer be accessible to the submitting author through the journal panel. The duration of retention of records created during the submission process is as follow:

  • Manuscripts already published: 2 years from the date of publication
  • Manuscripts rejected or withdrawn: 2 years from the date of the action
Authors willing to access these material would have to contact the editorial office of the journal.

12. AHAIJ correction policy

We work closely with authors to make what we publish error-free.

When an article is published, the corresponding author receives an email and a correction request sheet which can be used to submit corrections to our online proof checking system if necessary. In each case, we make sure that corrections are handled as soon as possible.

All corrections are handled by the editor assigned to the article.

All other changes requested will be reviewed by the editorial team for appropriateness.

We publish corrections in Erratum and Corrigendum articles as soon as we can.

Once a manuscript is published, authors can request changes for; grammatical and orthographic errors, errors in the spelling of author names or affiliation, invalid or non-readable characters.

After a manuscript is published, AHAIJ editors will not accept requests to change the order of authors, add new authors or remove authors.

Requests to make intensive changes anywhere in the text will be declined.

13. AHAIJ retraction policy

Retractions are considered by the AHAIJ editorial office after assessing evidence of unreliable data or findings, plagiarism, duplicate publication, and unethical research practices.

The AHAIJ editorial office may consider an expression of concern notice if an article is under investigation.

When a retraction notice is published in AHAIJ, the retracted article and the PDF are watermarked with “ retracted article” before the notice is submitted for indexation on PubMed and other article databases where AHAIJ content is deposited

Depending on the nature of the retraction, authors may also be banned from publishing in AHAIJ for up to five (5) years.

AHAIJ is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and follows the International standards for editors and authors [1] and COPE guidelines on investigating scientific misconduct.

AHAIJ participates in CrossMark, therefore, all published articles will display the CrossMark logo similar to the one below. By Clicking on the CrossMark logo you will get the current status of an article and will be directed to the latest published version.

  1. Kleinert S & Wager E (2011) Responsible research publication: international standards for editors. A position statement developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, Singapore, July 22-24, 2010. Chapter 51 in: Mayer T &Steneck N (eds) Promoting Research Integrity in a Global Environment. Imperial College Press / World Scientific Publishing, Singapore (pp 317-28). (ISBN 978-981-4340-97-7)

CrossMark Logo

14. Permanent archiving of content

All articles published in AHAIJ receive a DOI .

Whenever a published article needs to be corrected, the correction or retraction policies above will be applied.


Volume 1 (Jan - Dec 2018)

Articles published in AHAIJ are Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.