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By Prisca Sam-Duru

The SNA WEEK, an annual celebration of the Society of Nigerian Artists, SNA Lagos Chapter, since its inception about two decades ago, has gone beyond just fun and partying. It has for a long time, been utilised as a period for the association to give back to the community through joint Corporate Social Responsibility services like pro bono beautification of public spaces.

The association which has strived immensely to ensure they impact greatly on their immediate environment as well as society at large, this year, decided to delve into a very important area that concerns the life of members –their health.

Themed “Insuring A Healthier Future In A Creative World”, the 2021 SNA WEEK, held Saturday, November 20, 2021, at the Aina Onabolu Complex, National Gallery of Art, National Theatre, Lagos.

 It featured a free health seminars by representatives of Leadway Health and Health Talks by artists and invited guests.

The brilliant idea of having health insurance for artists is one of the noblest ideas a creative organisation would be adopting. We’ve seen over the years, situations whereby celebrities solicit public assistance to enable them to access health abroad after years of making millions from their industry. That kind of situation is what the SNA Lagos is saying no to, by ensuring its members are insured.

The insurance package, according to the Chairman SNA Lagos, Prince Kolawole K. Olojo-Kosoko, became necessary “Because we realised that majority of our artists are going through either psychological or physical health challenge. We also realised that being people who do not receive a salary, pension or drawing loan from anywhere, it is better for us to key into a kind of programme whereby we may not have money but as long as we have the ability to pay little token throughout the year for any eventuality, we are covered health-wise”.

The psychological challenge he noted, usually comes from what he described as fear of the unknown especially as professionals without salary. Based on health grounds, Olojo-Kosoko hinted that the SNA Lagos Chapter has considered one of their members for a scholarship. “We also have some of our people who are down already but the society, for now, can only give one person a scholarship. We have identified more than 7 other members whereby on their behalf, we will find a way of raising funds to cover them in the insurance scheme”, he said.

“When you are in a good state of health then you got hope. Health insurance is a must for everyone, therefore, key into it now. Your health is our joy”, says Vice Chairman SNA Lagos Chapter, Ayoola Omovo.

 Also speaking at the event, Curator and Head of Station, NGA, Lagos, Mrs Ekene Okoroma who posited that it is only when a person is healthy that he can talk about working, said that the association has put in place an initiative that will hugely impact positively on the lives of artists. Mrs Okoroma who was represented at the event by Mrs Susan Ikeotuonye, further stated that “In this clime where things like insurance and Will are not taken seriously, it is heart-warming to see artists keying into the scheme”.

Appreciating the SNA Lagos Chairman and other executive members for the commendable project, renowned sculptor, Dr Adeola Balogun, said, “It’s only a few people that think about others regarding something that is beneficial, but Prince Olojo-Kosoko and his team have shown that they truly care for the welfare of others by putting in place one of the initiatives that will be beneficial to artists”.

 Considering the fact that present economic hardship in the country makes saving money very difficult, Dr Balogun noted that the insurance scheme is coming at the right time. “We are living in an uncertain time. Terrible things are happening; people are falling ill and I was just thinking now that enough of the emergency fund because I’ve been involved in several. We resorted to the emergency fund before now because there was no backup. This is an opportunity for us to guard against the unthinkable which brings us to the importance of insurance. In this part of the world, when you talk about death or accident the next thing you hear is God forbid; but it is happening”.

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