By Osa Amadi
Recently, the United States Consulate General in collaboration with Tender Arts Nigeria unveiled an “Arts and Medicine Innovation Hub” hosted at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.
A local non-profit organization, Tender Arts Nigeria, led by 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow, Kunle Adewale, set up the innovation hub with the support of a public diplomacy grant of the U.S. Consulate General.
Speaking at the formal opening of the innovation hub, U.S. Consulate Acting Public Affairs Officer Jennifer Foltz explained that incorporating the arts into healthcare delivery will enhance holistic patient care.
According to Jennifer Foltz, the innovation hub will provide opportunities for cultural exchange for art therapists, arts in health practitioners and mental health advocates in Nigeria and beyond.
“The United States works closely with our Nigerian partners to strengthen human capital for inclusive growth, and part of that is by supporting programs that lead to a healthier population. We are proud of Kunle Adewale for giving back to his community and country through the establishment of this hub,” Foltz said.
In addition to inaugurating the Arts and Medicine Innovation Hub, Tender Arts Nigeria organized the maiden edition of the National Arts in Health Conference titled “The Arts, Health and You.”
Delivering opening remarks at the conference, Acting Public Affairs Officer Foltz said there is increasing evidence that the display of visual art, especially images of nature, and the use of other art forms like music, can have positive effects on health outcomes.
In his keynote remarks, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, thanked the U.S. Consulate General and Tender Arts Nigeria for partnering to bring together public health practitioners and professional artists to advocate inclusion of arts in medicine.
“The impact of arts in healthcare could be miraculous for both patients and medical providers. In Lagos State, we will be seeking the input of artists in the design of our new public healthcare facilities,” Professor Abayomi added.
Founder/Executive Director Tender Arts Nigeria, Kunle Adewale, said creative arts programs can help patients work towards recovery in an effective and enjoyable way. He explained that Arts in Medicine, which is relatively new in Nigeria, will go a long way in enhancing public perception of hospitals as centers for nurturing and healing.
“Integrating the arts into healthcare settings helps to cultivate a healing environment. Our Arts in Medicine Project has yielded notable results across local hospitals, including mental health institutions,” he said.