The need for health education in indigenous Australia
The life expectancy of an indigenous Australian is 15-18 years less than that of the non-indigenous population. Major causes of this are cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, endocrine disease and accidents and injuries. All of these factors can be attributed to a lack of education.
Much of the indigenous population of Australia live in remote areas of the country where they have low /no access to computers or internet so cannot reap the benefits of the information revolution, making education a difficult process.
Information delivery to remote communities
Giving the people in these remote areas of Australia access to the information they need and educating them in the importance of a healthier lifestyle is made very difficult due to the remoteness of these communities. The added challenge is to provide this information in a culturally appropriate and engaging manner so once it is available people will actually use it and adopt new habits and a healthier way of living.
Hitnet is an innovative Australian ‘Communication for Development’ company that produces rich learning media with and for those living on the wrong side of the digital divide. They work with populations marginalised by culture, technology, socio-economic disadvantage and distance. Hitnet recognised the power of technology to address some of these issues, and approached NeoProducts to produce a tailor made interactive kiosk.
The kiosk not only had to provide information, but given the locations of the target population, it has to also be able to withstand the conditions of the harsh and remote environments in which they would operate. The kiosks had to be rugged, highly reliable, and require little servicing.
A relevant learning experience
Hitnet, working with the communities, developed a contextually and culturally sensitive, relevant health education portfolio which was loaded into the kiosks. The 75 kiosks throughout the most remote areas of Australia gave Hitnet a platform to provide an intuitive learning experience which educates these communities on the relevant health issues concerning them.