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Art can cure at times, and save health care costs: WHO

Published : 12 Nov 2019, 00:12

  DF-Xinhua Report

Photo Source : WHO.

A report by the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, published in Helsinki on Monday, said that both the experiencing and actually producing of art can strengthen health and wellbeing.

Piroska Ostlin, acting WHO Regional Director for Europe, said that art can tackle medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity or mental problems.

"Art offers solutions that common medical practice has not been able to address effectively," she said.

Ostlin hoped that the report will shift the discussion now into policies, such as strengthening of referral mechanisms of patients from health and social facilities to arts programs.

Almost a third of the visits to a doctor in Britain reportedly stems from non-medical reasons, such a loneliness. In Britain, doctors have been able to suggest culture. The system has later been introduced also in Sweden and Denmark.

The researchers noted that art can have group impacts as well -- Drama activities in school may reduce in-class competition and bullying.

Addressing the launch of the report, Finnish Minister of Science and Culture, Hanna Kosonen, said that Finland has decided that one percent of the investment costs of public buildings would be spent on art. The aim was to establish art as part of normal activities.

Kosonen also said she would like to see more data on the economic impact, and cost savings, of using art in health care, particularly as part of preventative action.

The WHO report covers 900 research publications as references.