By Elizabeth Uwandu
Mr. Kunle Adewale 2015 Mandela, a Washington Fellow recently inaugurated an Art in Medicine Fellowship for public health practitioners and professional artists in Lagos.
Arts in Medicine project sought among other things to incorporate the arts into healthcare delivery, with a view to enhancing holistic patient care is project is funded through a public diplomacy grant from the United States Consulate General,Lagos.
The fellowship aimed to train 100 professionals, comprise 85 doctors, nurses, and trained caregivers and 15 visual artists on series of creative art engagements that will include painting, drawing and collaging for children and young adults living with sickle cell anemia, cancer, and mental health conditions; will have sessions for patients across selected hospitals such as the National Sickle Cell Centre, Idi Araba; Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH; and Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba in the course of one year.
According to Adewale, also a project lead of Tender Arts in Nigeria, the Arts in Medicine initiative would enhance public perception of hospitals as centers for nurturing and healing.
“There is increasing evidence that the display of visual art, especially images of nature, can have positive effects on health outcomes, including shorter length of stay in hospital, increased pain tolerance and decreased anxiety,” he explained.
Speaking at the inauguration, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate General, Lagos, Ms. Darcy Zotter, expressed optimism that the initiative will go a long way in improving the quality of lives of the participating patients.
“The Arts in Medicine initiative is yet another example of projects that support U.S. Mission Nigeria’s goals. The U.S. Mission to Nigeria’s Public Affairs Sections make available grant and funding opportunities to carry out projects of this type, which have social impact.
“We are happy to support this project which seeks to transform healthcare service delivery and healing through the arts. Creative arts programs can help patients work towards recovery in an effective and enjoyable way,” Zotter added.