Today is Christmas Eve, widely celebrated in the Christian world. This means that most offices, including our favourite Lancet journal, are closed and people are rushing around for the last shopping and to get to their beloved for the evening’s celebration. Running around is particularly complicated this year for people in many part of Western Europe including < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Belgium due to unusual snowfall. Any travel by car, train, bus, plane and even walking is dangerous today. Luckily modern technologies allow us to work from home these days which makes it possible to deliver this Christmas newsletter without taking any risk.

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In other parts of the world of course there are more tragic reasons that prevent the celebration of a peaceful Christmas and to our sorrow, some of them are somehow western induced plagues. Take as examples the situation of Iraqi, Ivorians or Haitians: Iraqi Christians cancelled any signs of party by fear of attacks; Cote d’Ivoire’s political situation makes it unlikely that many Ivorians will have peace in their hearts today and Haitian’s permanent struggle with aid’s side effects.


Wherever you are, the editorial team wishes you a peaceful Christmas and a happy new year.


David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Josefien Van Olmen, Basile Keugoung & Wim Van Damme

Global Health

1. Plos – Toward a Consensus on Guiding Principles for Health Systems Strengthening

Robert C. Swanson, Annette Bongiovanni, Elizabeth Bradley, et al.;

Swanson and colleagues reviewed the literature for the term health system(s) strengthening (HSS) and came up with 10 guiding principles. Definitely we need more of this. This work is a preliminary sketch of what HSS should be. It can be read in parallel with Van Olmen et al. exercise of mapping health systems frameworks.

2. The Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Five-year Evaluation Policy Challenges

Dominique Kerouedan;

Dominique Kerouedan reviewed the five year evaluation of the global fund.

3. Applying the principles of AIDS ‘exceptionality’ to global health: challenges for global health governance

Ooms et al.

In a special issue of global health governance journal, UNAIDS staff under the lead of its executive director M Sidibe have compiled a number of articles discussing aids governance at a time where funding is being flatlined. Our colleagues Ooms et al. discuss links between aids exceptionalism and what could become a global health responsibility. Other articles are also interesting like Rushton’s paper on why a global health problem becomes a global policy issue. Look at the table of content for a complete overview.

4. GHE – Negotiating Health in the 21st Century: Global Health Governance in Fragile States Fourth High-Level Symposium on Global Health Diplomacy

Global Health Europe’s blog proposes you to watch some parts of the recent conference that discussed global health governance in fragile states. The new and cheap way to attend conferences.

5. Seattle Times – Decade of vaccines begins with new models, funding challenges

Kristi Heim;

Thanks to humanosphere’s watchdog exercise of the Gates Foundation we found this interesting column making a review of recent global initiatives in terms of vaccines provision and development.


6. Guardian – Transparency will make aid work better

Owen Barder;

On the Bill and Melinda funded blog in the Guardian, Owen Barder discusses the recent initiatives in the US and EU to make aid more transparent.

7. rnw – Turning point for Dutch development aid

John Tyler;

A newly elected conservative government and a financial crisis have had major consequences on many European Development priorities. In this column, the author discusses the new Dutch aid policy or what remains of it.

Emerging Voices

8. Young Champions for maternal Health

Thanks to our permanent search of the world wide web for international health topics, we came across this initiative that has some similarities with our emerging voice contest. Have a look at some recent blog post from young champions for maternal health.

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