‘Care struggles: the role of Indigenous health activists in the fight against HIV in Chile.’

Willy Morales, leader of RENPO, holding one of the latest campaign posters. Photo by Jorge Tibor Gutierrez, medical anthropologist and member of RENPO.
Saravia, Paula. 2024. “Health Activism: From Citizenship to Radical Care. ‘Care Struggles: The Role of Indigenous Health Activists in the Fight Against HIV in Chile.’” Cambridge University Social Anthropology Society (CUSAS) Lent 2024 edition (February). https://www.cusas.socanth.cam.ac.uk/paula-saravia/.

In this essay, I examine the work of Indigenous patients' organizations as a form of collective care that disrupts current notions and structures of political engagement in health education and activism that place them at the margins of health policymaking.  I describe the work of RENPO: National Network of Indigenous Peoples in Response to HIV-Aids" in Chile and provide examples of their contribution to creating care-worlds that include indigenous ontologies at the community level and in national and international HIV campaigns. My essay is in dialogue with theoretical perspectives that recognize coloniality and racialization as embedded structures in care work. In particular, I consider Hobart and Kneese's concept of radical care (2020) and Murphy's proposal on unsettling care (2015) as crucial contributions to our understanding of Indigenous health activism and their collective organizing as crucial in negotiating alternative models re-claiming and de-centering biomedical models of care.

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