Transition 2017 . . . We’re reading reactions and questions on global health impacts

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One week into the Trump administration, memos, executive orders, a draft memorandum, and State Department resignations have raised questions about the immediate future of U.S. global health responses and results. We’re reading some of the reactions.

The State Department’s entire senior administrative team just resigned – While remaining unclear whether this was a reaction or result of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s vote Monday to approve Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, opening the way for the full Senate to approve the former ExxonMobil CEO, the turnover, this opinion piece by Josh Rogin points out, leaves a challenging gap in basic and institutional knowledge.

Trump Prepares Orders Aiming at Global Funding and Treaties – While this story raised obvious concerns about potential impacts on global health research and responses, what authority or scope such orders would have remains unclear. Some global health advocates, however have already laid out the argument that continued U.S. leadership, support and influence in global health and development are in American interests, including with The Case for U.S. Investment in the Global Fund and Global Health from Friends of the Global Fight, and U.S.-Africa Policy: Recommendations for President Trump from Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del).

Trump Administration Restricts News from Federal Scientists at USDA, EPA  – Following this story from Scientific American‘s Dina Fine Maron, this New York Times article added that similar orders have been issued to Department of Health and Human Services staff. The directives however, may not silence scientists but have the opposite effect, as reported in this STAT story: Scientists plan their own march on Washington.

Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy – Following the release of the President’s memorandum Monday expanding the scope of the previous policy restricting family planning funding from organizations providing counseling, referrals or services to terminate pregnancies, journalists examined some of the ramifications of the order extended to “global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.” While this Washington Post Fact Checker questioned NARAL Pro-choice America’s assertion that the order penalizes even the mention of abortion, this New York Times interview with a physician working in Kenya gives an on-the-ground response to the policy.

Trumps flashy executive actions could run aground – Finally, this Politico piece questions if orders issued in the flurry of first week activity are sufficiently informed or supported to be enforceable.

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