At UCH, music to soothe soul to berth soon

MUSIC is not only associated with love, joy, and happiness; it is also beneficial to cope with ill health, pain and ward off low mood while on the hospital bed.

Now, patients at the University College Hospital (UCH) courtesy of Bola Otegbayo-Ajibola, a biomedical engineer with a passion for music, are to be served music to relax their minds and fill voids they sometimes encounter.

Joyraezel, as her fans call her, sees it as a call to support the many patients she passes by in the hospital’s ward in pain, that are faced with gloomy medical reports or often left in their world once the hospital’s visiting time is over.

“Sometime when I am going in the ward, I see doctors trying to set up an infusion line for a child and the child will be crying. My thoughts then were if only we just sing for the child as they are setting the line, it will definitely alleviate the pain,” Otegbayo-Ajibola retorted.

For Joyraezel, looking around and seeing people that have been on admission for months at the hospital, music therapy can easily give hope and provide the company they often desire.

Otegbayo-Ajibola, who started with providing voluntary music therapy alongside her band for free at the Lambo ward of the hospital, said music would shift their negative-thinking pattern and thereby make them forget their worries.

She added : “when I go for music therapy, I do my background work to find out what are the types of song and artistes they will like to listen to. That is what we go to sing for them. They are always happy and asking if we are coming back tomorrow.”

According to her, the kind of songs that appeal to paediatrics is not the same that will interest the geriatrics or adults.

For geriatrics, she said old music tunes would bring back old and happy memories as well as boost their psychological well-being while at the psychiatry ward where many are between 18 and 35 years, hip hop will be a better option since they also end up singing along.

“The first time we came, I felt so much fulfilled by the time we were done to psychiatry. The feedback was awesome. It encouraged me.

“At the psychiatry ward, there was a young lady that came up and sang Dolly Parton’s songs ‘Coat of many colours.’  She had this sonorous voice, and within me, I prayed “oh Lord, help this girl get out this problem.”

“I remember a case at the orthopaedic ward. His whole body was covered all up with bandage. By the time we were signing, the boy was tapping his toes to the rhyme of the song. You can imagine what was going on in his soul,” she added.

Otegbayo-Ajibola stated that although music therapy is an evolving field in modern medical practice and awaiting government’s approval for its berth at the hospital, she has decided on this voluntary service after she started to read about the therapeutic effect of music.

Otegbayo-Ajibola, who started singing at age 13 in the church choir, says her band only sings on request for patients at the hospitals and at her free time.

“Music therapy is the use of music or musical intervention to improve the clients’ quality of life and it is an evolving field in medical practice.  There are two types; active music therapy and passive music therapy. It is my new passion; I want to nurture it and see it grow. It is a new thing in Nigeria and I am glad to be one of the pioneers,” she added.

Otegbayo-Ajibola said that music is a universal language that everybody understands even if they do not know the meaning of its lyrics.

According to her, “they feel very good, the song shifts their negative thinking pattern and prevents them from brooding. Positive mindset promotes faster healing of the body. That is why it is therapy just like talk therapy.  Like it is said, music is the food for the soul and soul controls the body.”