Background: The Ethiopian Medical Journal celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2012. To mark this anniversary reviewing a bit of history, and addressing the current status and challenges of the Journal would therefore be appropriate. This paper attempts to highlight some important developments and give a quick3review of the papers published over the last five decades.
Methods: All the EMJ publications were retrieved using both manual and electronic searches. EMJ archives, Central medical Library of the College of Health Sciences of Addis Ababa University and electronic PubMed citations were used as sources of database. Design, format and layout of EMJ issues were assessed. Review of publications was done in terms of numbers, type and broad classification. Broad classifications of only original articles was made in terms of Child health, Maternal health, Infectious diseases, Non-communicable diseases, Population studies and Public health, Laboratory medicine and other Curative services. Historic photos and abstracts of selected articles are presented in this paper.
Results: The journal first appeared under the title in both languages Amharic [see text] and English "The Ethiopian Medical Journal", with little change in the Amharic title [see text] replaced by [see text])" on the same Volume 1, but No2. A major change on the design, layout and format was observed Volume 6, No 1, 1967. The total number of papers published in the EMJ during the last five decades, excluding abstracts printed in the journal from the annual conferences of EMA and letters to the editor were 1467. These papers were published in 49 volumes, 198 regular and 11 special or supplemental issues. Of the total papers 981 were original articles, 89 brief communications, 241 case reports 105 review articles in regular issues and about 52 were papers published in special or supplemental issues. In general, the bulk of its articles concern clinical medicine, public health and laboratory investigations and cover all of the subspecialties in medicine. Articles on infectious diseases took the highest share 27.1% of the total. Articles on HIV/AIDS and TB have shown a dramatic increase in the EMJ publications of the last two decades with annual average 1.1 and 2.8 in the 1990s and 2000s, respectively. Research papers on the chronic non-communicable diseases accounted for 11.2%.
Conclusion: The journal played a key role in transforming medical knowledge and was a sound tool in disseminating timely and relevant information in Ethiopia and is going strong.