A new health network to win attention while you wait

Aboriginal Health Television (AHTV), the world’s first exclusively health-based Indigenous television network, has been officially launched by the Federal Indigenous Health Minister, Ken Wyatt.

The network will deliver important health messages and culturally relevant content through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations across Australia.

In July 2018, the Federal Government committed $3.4 million over three years to develop the network, which is expected to reach a First Nations’ audience of over 1.2 million people a month.

It is expected the network will broadcast in 100 locations by May 2019.

The Federal Minister for Indigenous Health launches the world’s first exclusively health-first Indigenous television network. Supplied: Tonic Health Media

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said the new network is an exciting step forward.

“AHTV is a truly unique, ground-up opportunity to connect at the point of care and build stronger, healthier communities,” he said.

Dr Norman Swan, Co-Founder of Tonic Health Media who is developing the not-for-profit network said the idea behind AHTV was to provide “engaging, appropriate and evidence-informed health content” to Aboriginal people while they wait to see their health professional.

“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,” he said.

“We know that our targeted messaging can make a big difference. There’s nothing like knowledge to give people control over their decisions.”

He said AHTV, guided by its advisory group of Aboriginal health leaders and researchers, will continue to work closely with Aboriginal peak health bodies and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations to develop and deliver culturally relevant health messaging and lifestyle content.

“We are also partnering with third party content producers who specialise in Indigenous content to acquire and produce culturally relevant content,” Dr Swan said.

Aboriginal Health TV advisory group member, Associate Professor Chris Lawrence, said the delivery of a culturally relevant TV network that connected with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities would improve health outcomes.

“Australia has always been a world leader in health promotion. AHTV signals a new era in how health promotion messages are told and delivered to one of the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations,” he said.

By Andrea Cantle

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