An Australian First Nations COVID-19 Prevention Strategy and the limits of a medicalised managerial discourse

An Australian First Nations COVID-19 Prevention Strategy and the limits of a medicalised managerial discourse Book Section

Indigenous Health and Well-Being in the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Author(s): Morrissey, Philip
  • Published: 2022
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • ISBN: 9781003220381

Abstract: The Australian First Nations COVID-19 Prevention Strategy was developed and implemented by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) with funding supplied by the Australian Federal Government. The Strategy had initially seemed a resounding success, a benchmark for other First Nations people to aspire to, and an example of what Australian Indigenous leadership and Indigenous community-controlled health organisations could achieve. Within a short space of time, however, failures in conception and implementation became increasingly evident. Anti-vaccination conspiracy theories circulated in remote Indigenous communities and vaccine hesitancy emerged as a problem. Despite the earlier claims of success, rates of vaccination for Australia’s Indigenous population were shown to be far lower than that of the non-Indigenous population. This essay historicises current Indigenous population health polices in the larger context of the Indigenous experience of invasion, colonisation, foreign-brought disease, and medicalised racism. It suggests that NACCHO’s strategy was flawed in envisaging the ideal Aboriginal subject as an ahistorical self-maximising consumer, rather than a subject shaped by the historical experience of invasion, colonisation, and racism. It further suggests that there is an isomorphic relationship between Government and the Aboriginal health establishment and that this leads to culturally dissonant, if managerial expedient, policies, and practices.

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Suggested Citation
Morrissey, Philip, 2022, An Australian First Nations COVID-19 Prevention Strategy and the limits of a medicalised managerial discourse, Book Section, viewed 21 February 2024, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=38230.

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