South Africa: Satellite Health Channel Reaches Nearly 300 Clinics

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Harnessing satellite technology, a partnership including the national Department of Health, has been providing health care "info-tainment" to televisions in nearly 300 clinics and hospitals countrywide.

Since pilot operations in 2003, The Mindset Health Channel has been delivering information on Tuberculosis (TB), HIV and AIDS and uplifting health education to facilities. The project is a partnership of the Mindset Network, the Department of Health and state-owned entity Sentech, which provides multi-media services and distributes broadcast signals.

The channel, which began broadcasting TV programmes in October 2003, has advanced to Internet datacasting, reaching an increasing number of clinics and hospitals. Mindset has grown from 48 sites in the pilot phase and now has 298 established sites throughout South Africa. The satellite uplink provided by Sentech, allows datacasting directly to users with information in video, multi-media and print available on demand.

Besides TB and HIV and AIDS information, the public broadcast offers information on maternal and infant health and social issues such as gender violence. The programmes are broadcast in English, SeSotho, isiZulu, isiXhosa and Afrikaans through dramas, public service announcements, documentaries, interviews and discussions. The Mindset Health Channel aims to eventually broadcast to 4,000 public healthcare sites, and hospitals as wall as private clinics, prisons and community centres. In so doing, it would reach 97,000 nurses and 36 million South Africans.

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