Popular Nigerian dancer, Kafayat Shafau-Ameh aka Kaffy, has urged stakeholders in her industry to set up health insurance for Nigerian dancers.
Kaffy gave the advice in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, in Lagos, against the background of growing concerns of health challenges faced by members of the Nigerian dance industry.
She is best known for breaking the Guinness World Record for “Longest Dance Party” at the Nokia Silverbird Danceathon in 2006.
Ever since she has been at the forefront of demanding the rights and adequate welfare of indigenous dancers.
The 40-year-old dancer, who explained that the health insurance would be spearheaded by healthcare providers, health management organisations, life coaches, dance group leaders, and dance artists, said the process would be transparent.
According to her, they converged to prefer a sustainable healthcare deal at a two-day virtual conference tagged Dance2Health.
She said the summit could not have come at a better time.
“More than 98 percent of Nigerian dancers lack health insurance and self-awareness. The majority lead a lifestyle of drugs, peer pressure, poor mental well-being, and personal irresponsibility,” Kaffy said.
“This is the bane of the industry. Until every corporate dance leader is shouldered with the responsibility of ensuring that every staff (dancer) has a valid health insurance cover this industry lacks a heart.”
Other stakeholders at the summit also gave their takes on the best ways dancers can take care of their bodies.
Before the summit, Kaffy conducted a survey to find out how many of her colleagues would be interested in health insurance.
According to her, over 250 positive responses were recorded within 42 hours.
Plans for the first phase of the initiative with an initial 500 dancers which would benefit from a compressible health care insurance plan at an affordable rate are being concluded.
“We agreed to start small in Lagos State by running with a proper organisational structure, proper registration of dancers within Local Government Areas, evaluating the cost of healthcare per unit, and finally putting up a system that stirs sustainable support and sponsorship is the way to go. This conference is an ongoing conversation that was proposed to run twice per month,” Kaffy said.
Aside from the healthcare insurance initiative, Kaffy through her foundation is also launching a mental health support group where dancers can meet twice a month.