An Explanatory Study of Health Policy Agenda Setting in Indonesian Immunisation Policy for Religious Anti-vaccination

Author: Tetrawindu Hidayatullah

Hidayatullah, Tetrawindu, 2016 An Explanatory Study of Health Policy Agenda Setting in Indonesian Immunisation Policy for Religious Anti-vaccination, Flinders University, School of Health Sciences

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Indonesia, as one of the biggest moslem country, had been facing with religious opposition to vaccination. What had been in public dispute, it is around halal/haram status of vaccines. This study explains health policy making for religious opposition to vaccination in Indonesia. In heuristic linearized policy cycle, this study accentuates in the first stage, the agenda setting or priority setting. With very limited scholarly knowledge on agenda setting about health policy derived from developing country, this study may fill this knowledge gap by elucidating the case in developing suitable immunisation policy.

Grounding on Kingdon’s agenda setting theory, this case study analysed the failure of opening policy window to change the national immunisation policy. Despite acknowledging the lucid analysis through Kingdon’s theory, two important peculiar accounts are identified. First, the operation of populist logic in the competitive course for winning policy agenda. In this study, populist logic could be the understood as gaining mass-based appeal, as a vox populi, striking on behalf of the majority society, the ‘un-halal’ vaccines. And second, considering with political patronage culture as macro context of the functioning power behaviour in the general agenda setting course. Those two accounts may arguably play as political expediency in the endeavour of agenda setting and subsequently explain the failure in opening policy window to change immunisation policy, that no entrepreneurs could counter the populism of un-halal vaccine in the way of benefiting health policy, and changing immunisation policy.

The study suggests acknowledging on national political culture and its associated power behaviour to provide a strategic knowledge for public health policy entrepreneurs in agenda setting from developing country setting. Populist logic, as an incentive structure for policy entrepreneurships, may arguably expedite or hamper the agenda setting trail to open policy window.

Keywords: agenda setting, immunisation policy, Indonesia, religious anti-vaccination, populist logic, health politics

Subject: Public Health thesis

Thesis type: Professional Doctorate
Completed: 2016
School: School of Health Sciences
Supervisor: Colin MacDougall