A comprehensive new digital television network will be rolled out across hundreds of health centres, as the Australian Government works with First Nations communities to Close the Gap and achieve health equality.
Over the next three years, $3.4 million has been committed to develop the Aboriginal Health TV network, which will deliver health and wellbeing messages through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.
“We are aiming to start the rollout in October, with the Aboriginal Health TV Network expected to reach up to 1.2 million people each month in hundreds of community controlled primary health care waiting rooms across the nation,” said Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM.
“The scope of this network is exciting, with important health and wellbeing stories, plus local production input to ensure the broadcasts are relevant and engaging for their audiences.
“Through an entertaining and compelling format, health messages will be delivered on issues such as smoking, eye and ear checks, skin conditions, diet, immunisation, sexual health, diabetes and drug and alcohol treatment services.”
Content will be developed by the Aboriginal Health TV Network in partnership with local Aboriginal health services, to ensure it is culturally appropriate and relevant.
The Aboriginal Health TV Network will also use mobile solutions and social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to expand the platform’s reach and promote engagement.
“This is a unique opportunity to connect with First Nations audiences at the point of care” Minister Wyatt said.
The Aboriginal Health TV Network will be developed by reputable health communications company, Tonic Health Media, as a not-for-profit enterprise, with oversight from its Indigenous Advisory Board.
Board members are respected members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health community, including Dr Mark Wenitong from Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Donna Ah Chee from the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Adrian Carson from the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, Professor Sandra Eades from the University of Melbourne and Associate Professor Dr Christopher Lawrence from the University of Technology Sydney.
“The new Aboriginal Health TV Network will be installed in Aboriginal health services free of charge and it is envisaged it will be self-sufficient within three years,” said Minister Wyatt.
“Importantly, programming from the Network will also be available for transmission on Tonic Health Media’s existing platform which broadcasts in mainstream health services.”
“That means the health messaging will also reach the 50 per cent of First Nations people who use non-Aboriginal health services.”
The Aboriginal Health TV Network will also build partnerships with broadcasters and Aboriginal producers across Australia who specialise in producing Indigenous television content.