The Rural Health Channel, aimed at people living and working in the more remote corners of the country, began broadcasting this week. It represents a breakthrough: in increasing health literacy and helping fight health inequity in rural and remote communities.
The new TV channel will play its part in closing the gap by providing vital health information and education to families and healthcare teams.
The channel has been launched by the Rural Health Education Foundation, an independent, non-profit organisation that over the last 20 years has provided free distance learning education programs, building the skills of more than 50,000 health professionals.
Until now, this service was only available to health professionals in limited clinics or workplaces, and only for two hours per fortnight. The Foundation can now extend its service to the wider community and health professionals in their homes.
The CEO of the Rural Health Education Foundation, Helen Craig, said today: “People living and working in these isolated regions face immense barriers to keeping up-to-date on health matters, and the impact of this can clearly be seen in higher rates of illness and mortality.”
The Rural Health Channel is being broadcast via the Aurora Digital satellite system which carries VAST (Viewer Access Satellite Television) services. VAST services provide digital TV to people who cannot receive terrestrial digital television and currently reach 84,000 households. Government estimates expect this number to grow to 400,000 by the end of next year.
The channel means we can now deliver the latest health news, information and training, to health professionals and communities, no matter where they live.” continues Ms Craig.
VAST services provide the full range of free-to-air digital television channels that metropolitan areas enjoy. The Rural Health Channel is the first specialised non-commercial channel to be receivable by all VAST viewers as well as Foundation dedicated sites. Initially it will broadcast 24 hours per week: from 1.30 to 3.30pm and 7.30 to 9.30pm on weekdays, and 4.30 to 6pm on Sundays.
The Foundation relies on the significant infrastructure and investments made by the Federal Government. The Foundation has chosen Optus Satellite to deliver the service.
Communications ManagerRural Health Education Foundation
| Ground Floor, 810 Pacific Highway Gordon, NSW 2062(PO Box 62, Gordon NSW 2062)
Phone (02) 9416 0643 | Mobile 0422 248396 | Fax (02) 9416 0454
A non-profit organisation providing quality, accessible health education to remote and rural healthcare teams and communities.