November 04, 2020
There is a huge mental health treatment gap across Africa, but in one Nigerian hospital, music therapy is having a positive impact
Dont stop the music: songs bring hope to a Nigerian psychiatric unit
The music comes on – a soft blend of guitar, saxophone, piano – and people sit still at first, then heads start to sway to the sound. Some hum along; mostly they sing, or laugh and dance. At the end, when quiet returns, their mood is assessed – as it was when the session started.
Once or twice a month, Bola Otegbayo brings a team of singers and instrumentalists into this psychiatric unit at University College hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Nigeria. Otegbayo realised a few years ago that some of her patients were lonely even though their loved ones visited and caregivers provided succour. So she began to share music. Now she is a musicologist alongside her main Job as a renal technologist.
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