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Employing art as healing therapy in hospitals

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Prof. Akin Abayomi


The Lagos State Government over the weekend inaugurated a 10-member committee, tagged “Art4Life Steering Committee”, to oversee the use of art as healing therapy in health facilities across the State.

Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi who inaugurated the committee in his office at Alausa-Ikeja explained that the committee would drive the Art4life project; an initiative of the Ministry of Health aimed at using art to create a soft and compassionate environment to aid the process of healing for patients in health facilities. “The Art4Life project marks a new dimension in how we manage healthcare and well being of our people in Lagos. We are adding a softer touch to how we deliver quality health care to our people in Lagos by bringing arts to contribute and transform the healing process in our health facilities,” Abayomi said. He added that the Art4Life project is in further fulfillment of the present administration’s promise and commitment to strengthen healthcare system in the State noting that the introduction of art therapy will help improve mental health and wellbeing of citizens. Abayomi stressed that the Art4Life project will introduce a softer method of looking beyond the physical in attending to patient’s health thereby reducing trauma, anxiety, emotional difficulties, and medical conditions amongst others.

“We need to pay great attention beyond the physical with a view to reducing mental trauma, emotional difficulties as well as depression, family or relationship issues through art therapy”, the Commissioner noted.

While explaining the benefits of art therapy, Abayomi stated that several art methods including visual, creative and performing arts such as drawing, painting, sculpture, music, dancing and collage amongst others may be used with patients ranging from young children to the elderly adding that people who have experienced emotional trauma, physical violence, domestic abuse, anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues can benefit from expressing themselves creatively.

He assured that the use of art therapy would be activated in all medical facilities across the state emphasizing that it has a magical way of impacting positively on a depressed patient especially when they see nature. Abayomi added that the inclusion of art therapy would transform heath care service delivery in the state noting that his experience of how art was used to aid the process of healing and recovery of Ebola survivors in some West Africa countries is nothing short of magic.

The Commissioner specified that the State remained committed to its one health agenda, which according to him was apparent in the relationship between the different disciplines including arts and medicine.He explained that one health referred to the collaboration of multiple disciplines, sectors and multiple groups to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment.

He urged members of the Committee which include Ms. Aduke Gomez as the Chairperson, Ms. Adenrele Sonariwo, Mr. Victor Ehikhamenor, Princess Adepeju Hameed, Mrs. Dorcas Shonibare as well as Dr. Tolu Ajomale, Mr. Bimbo Manuel, Mr. Umaru Aliyu, Mr. Muyiwa Majekodunmi and Mr. Wale Adeniji to go the extra miles in achieving its goals and objectives so that in less than a year, its successes can be celebrated.

In her remarks, Gomez thanked the government for the opportunity accorded her to serve. She commended the efforts of the State Government for bringing about the initiative, which she noted would strengthen the healthcare system.She assured that members of the committee would work assiduously to achieve the objectives of the initiative. ‘’It is heartwarming that Lagos has picked up the initiative of including art therapy to healthcare delivery. By this time next year, we will be celebrating the achievement of this committee. I also commend the government for giving us the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” she remarked.

Also inaugurated same day was a three-man Advisory Committee for the Art4Life initiative headed by Dr. Abayomi Finnih with Ms. Yeni Kuti and Nelson Makamo as members. They are expected to act as patrons, playing advisory role to assist the steering committee.


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Akin Abayomi
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