A new digital television network now rolling out across the nation aims to help Close the Gap in health equality by revolutionising the way hundreds of thousands of First Australians receive health information.
Today’s official launch of the Aboriginal Health TV (AHTV) network at the South West Aboriginal Medical Service in Bunbury, Western Australia, is backed by a three-year, $3.4 million commitment by the Liberal National Government, to ensure First Australian patients can access relevant health stories and advice at local treatment centres.
“The new network is an exciting step forward, built on local engagement, including local production of health and wellbeing stories, to reach the hearts and minds of our people and our families,” said Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM.
“AHTV is a truly unique, ground-up opportunity to connect at the point of care and build stronger, healthier communities.”
The TV programs will be broadcast at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services around Australia.
Tonic Health Media (THM), the nation’s largest health and wellbeing network, is producing and commissioning targeted video content for AHTV, which is expected to be viewed by up to 1.2 million patients each month.
The programs on the new digital network feature issues including smoking, eye and ear checks, skin conditions, nutrition, immunisation, sexual health, diabetes, drug and alcohol treatment services and encourage the uptake of 715 health checks.
To ensure these important health messages reach as many people as possible content will also be repackaged for social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
“South West Aboriginal Medical Service has been chosen as one of AHTV’s initial trial sites,” said Member for Forrest Nola Marino.
“This will add to the fantastic range of services that SWAMS already provides for the local community here in the South West.”
AHTV will be installed and maintained at no cost to local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and plans to be self-sufficient within three years.
“It is expected the network will be broadcasting in 100 locations by May 2019, with the overall rollout planned for approximately 300 centres nationwide,” Minister Wyatt said.
“AHTV programming will also be available on Tonic Health Media’s existing platform which broadcasts in mainstream health services, meaning these important messages have the potential to reach the 50 per cent of our people who use non-Aboriginal medical services.”
Content licensing partnership agreements have been signed with ABC Indigenous and NITV and negotiations are underway with third-party production groups specialising in local Indigenous content.
The Liberal National Government’s AHTV commitment is part of the $3.9 billion dedicated to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people announced in the 2018-19 Budget.
For more details on the new network, see aboriginalhealthtv.com.au