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World-first Aboriginal health TV network launched


Paul Hayes


17/01/2019 11:35:46 AM

The network is designed to ‘revolutionise’ the way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive health information.

L–R: Community member Greg Vinmar; MP Nola Marino; South West Aboriginal Medical Service CEO, Lesley Nelson; Tonic Health Media Executive Director, Dr Norman Swan; Ken Wyatt.
L–R: Community member Greg Vinmar; MP Nola Marino; South West Aboriginal Medical Service CEO, Lesley Nelson; Tonic Health Media Executive Director, Dr Norman Swan; Ken Wyatt.

‘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,’ Federal Minister for Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said.
 
‘AHTV [Aboriginal Health TV] is a truly unique, ground-up opportunity to connect at the point of care and build stronger, healthier communities.’
 
Officially launched at the South West Aboriginal Medical Service in Bunbury, Western Australia, the not-for-profit network is backed by $3.4 million in funding from the Federal Government. Programs will be broadcast at Aboriginal community-controlled health services around Australia, with 100 locations expected to be involved by May.
 
‘The fundamental idea behind AHTV is to provide engaging, appropriate and evidence-informed health content to Aboriginal people while they are waiting to see their health professional,’ Dr Norman Swan, Executive Director of Tonic Health Media, which is producing and commissioning targeted video content for AHTV, said.
 
‘We have evidence that this period in the waiting area is a time when people are most open to information which can improve their health and offer relevant questions to ask their health professional when they see them in the next few minutes.’
 
With expected viewership of up to 1.2 million patients each month, AHTV will feature programs on issues such as smoking, eye and ear checks, skin conditions, nutrition, immunisation, sexual health, diabetes, and drug and alcohol treatment services, and will encourage the uptake of health checks under Medicare Item 715.
 
‘Our aim is to offer AHTV as a free, fully maintained service to all Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations across Australia,’ Dr Swan said. ‘We know that our targeted messaging can make a big difference. There’s nothing like knowledge to give people control over their decisions.’
 
The network will also be available to people who primarily access mainstream medical services.
 
‘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% of our people who use non-Aboriginal medical services,’ Minister Wyatt said.
 
In addition, content will be repackaged for social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.



Aboriginal health TV close the gap network


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