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MEDIA RELEASE: 16 JANUARY 2019:Today the world’s first, Indigenous exclusively health-focussed television network – Aboriginal Health Television (AHTV) was officially launched by the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon. Ken Wyatt AM, MP.

The Federal Government in July 2018 committed $3.4 million over three years to develop the targeted, culturally relevant AHTV network, which is expected to reacha First Nations’ audience of over 1.2 million people a month.

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM spoke about the importance of AHTV from the South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) in Bunbury, Western Australia, which is one of first 50 initial locations to install AHTV. It is expected the network will be broadcasting in 100 locations by May 2019.

“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,” Minister Wyatt added.

“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,” says Dr Norman Swan, Co-Founder of Tonic Media Network who is developing this not for profit network.

“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.

“Our aim is to offer AHTV as a free, fully maintained service to all AboriginalCommunity Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) across Australia – around 300 locations. And it is already being rolled out, with SWAMS as one of our first.  We know that our targeted messaging can make a big difference. There’s nothing like knowledge to give people control over their decisions.

“AHTV, guided by its Advisory Group of highly respected Aboriginal health leaders and researchers, will continue to work closely with Aboriginal Peak Health Bodies and ACCHOs, 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 Norman Swan said.

“AHTV provides a unique opportunity to communicate with Aboriginal audiences at the point of care when patients, their families, carers and health service providers are strongly focussed on health and wellbeing,” said Dr Cullen.

Aboriginal Health TV Advisory Group member, Associate Professor Chris Lawrence, says the delivery of a culturally relevant TV network that connects with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will improve health outcomes.                                                                                                               (Cont..)
“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.

“AHTV builds on this using digital technology to help close the gap, and improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians,” said Associate Professor Lawrence.

These sentiments were echoed by Lesley Nelson, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Board Member for WA, and CEO of the South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS).

“Health promotion is a huge part of what we do at Aboriginal Medical Services across the country, and we welcome any opportunity to communicate these important health messages to our clients,” Ms Nelson said.

“The fact that the content has been tailored to suit our local Aboriginal community means that clients will benefit from health information that is relevant, culturally sensitive and meaningful to them. I strongly encourage Aboriginal Medical Services nation-wide to jump on board this fantastic initiative.

“We are also proud that SWAMS is the first location in Australia to have AHTV,” Ms Nelson added.

Jake Thomson, a proud Aboriginal man is playing a lead role in bringing AHTV to Indigenous communities. Belonging to the Wiradjuri Nation and growing up in Western Sydney, Jake is the Community Relationships Manager for AHTV.

“AHTV not only offers culturally relevant content, but it gives a voice to every community. By having the information they need, it will enable our people to consciously make the right choices, which in turn will lead to better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Jake said.

And that’s exactly the aim of AHTV. Its tagline “Live Healthy. Live Long. Live Strong.” is the message they are here to deliver.

About AHTV

AHTV is the world’s first Indigenous exclusively health-focussed television network and delivers important health messages and culturally relevant content through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations across Australia.

Content is being developed in partnership with local Aboriginal health services and producers who specialise in Indigenous content to ensure it is culturally relevant and engaging for audiences.

These health and wellbeing messages include smoking, eye and ear checks, skin conditions, diet, immunisation, sexual health, diabetes and drug and alcohol treatment services.

AHTV is operating as a collaborative, not-for-profit, fully sustainable enterprise and being developed by Tonic Media Network, with oversight from its 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.

AHTV will also use mobile solutions and social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to expand the platform’s reach and promote engagement.