Medical doctors and other health practitioners have tasked the government on the inclusion of art into medical health care delivery in Nigeria.

According to the health practitioners, under the auspices of Arts in Medicine (AIM) Projects, art, like medical science, holds a huge therapeutic potential that can help improve health care delivery.

They made the call at a briefing in Lagos announcing the maiden edition of the National Arts in Health Conference (NAHCON). “The value of art in medical care cannot be overstated. Art can make a difference in medical health delivery. It is not only therapeutic, but can bring about healing faster than drugs, in some cases. In order to strengthen institutional ties and bridge the gap between the arts and health in Nigeria, we are hosting an inaugural National Arts in Health Conference (NAHCON),” Dr. Kunle Adewale, founder, Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria (SCFN).

The conference is scheduled to hold from May 24 to 30. It is estimated that about 500 participants would grace the event, which hopes to attract a gathering of students, professionals, cultural organisations, healthcare institutions, community members and stakeholders in health and community wellbeing.

While urging government to make it a policy decision to inculcate art in the medical care, especially of children, the Chief Executive  Officer of SCFN was of the view that art has helped in the medical care of children over the years, especially with those living with sickle cell anemia.

The briefing was attended by doctors, health practitioners, artists and advocates, including Director, Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Oyindamola Fakeye; Dr. Doyin Ogunyemi of LUTH and Vice Chairperson of Society of Nigerian Artists, Ayoola Omovo, among others.

The forthcoming conference, which is scheduled to feature 21 events, is in partnership with health, art and faith-based organisations such as Lagos State Ministry of Health, SCFN, Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos, United States Mission in Nigeria, Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative (SURPIN), Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria and others.