‘We know what our communities need’ – Pandemic preparedness in urban Indigenous communities in Australia

June 19, 2024

A study published in First Nations Health and Wellbeing – The Lowitja Journal used a systems thinking methodology to examine pandemic preparedness in urban Indigenous communities.

Study authors: Bronwyn Fredericks, Abraham Bradfield, James Ward, Shea Spierings, Sue McAvoy, Troy Combo, Agnes Toth-Peter

Funding: The funding for this project came from the former APPRISE CRE (through a donation from the Paul Ramsay Foundation) and from the Office of Indigenous Engagement, The University of Queensland.

Access the full study here

Study highlights

  • The benefit of systems thinking lies in its capacity not to ‘fix the problem’ but in its ability to provoke new ways of thinking and approaching complex problems to find common solutions.
  • Applying this approach to complex problems like COVID-19 reveals the complex dynamics that influence the outcome of health responses in Indigenous communities, such as infection rates, socioeconomic conditions, age-specific responses, Indigenous participation in the workforce, media and communications, and vaccinations.
  • Addressing issues relating to mobility, incentivising protective behaviours, engaging in coordinated responses, improving cultural literacy, and limiting overcrowding may increase preparedness and responses to COVID-19 and future pandemics.