President Tinubu breaks record appoints a 36yrs old, the youngest minister in the fourth republic of Nigeria, Dr Betta Edu, Medical Doctor per excellence and a humanitarian Icon
In what looks like a miracle for the Nigerian youths, who have so far been shut out of the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu has dified all odds to nominate the youngest minister in the history of Nigerian politics in the 4 republic of this country. Dr Betta Edu a Harvard certified, 36yr old Medical Doctor and public health specialist. With great passion for humanity
Dr. Betta Edu is result-oriented health policy and management expert with over twelve-years’ professional experience building and leading teams in visioning, developing, and implementing life-saving health policies and programmes at national and state levels. She has a medical degree from University of Calabar, Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health for Developing Countries from London School Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, Master of Science Public Health in Developing Countries from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, and Doctor of Public Health from Texila American University (AC) She is a fellow of the African Institute of Public Health Professionals, Fellow of the Royal society of Public Health, United Kingdom and regularly updated her professional and leadership skills through numerous executive programmes from renown institutions including University of London UK, Harvard University, University of Washington, and University Virginia in the United States of America.
Dr Betta Edu is a seasoned administrator and a gender expert who in the last one year have had a dynamic result-oriented leadership career at national core politics as the National Women Leader of the ruling party and the largest political party in Africa; All Progressive Congress; providing vision, strategy and operational execution to the women’s wing of the party, addressing gender issues, women empowerment, women affirmative action, welfarism, healthcare programs and operations geared towards female gender mainstreaming in politics, leadership and governance. Dr Edu was very instrumental to the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President of Nigeria through the mobilization of women all across the country in their millions to vote for President Bola Tinubu.
Dr. Edu was the immediate past Commissioner for Health of Cross River State where she has revolutionized the health care system through innovation, purposeful leadership, and integrity. Her energetic and quintessential leadership resulted in significant improvements in key health indices in Cross River state. Some of these include best child survival rate in Nigeria; 63% reduction in maternal mortality rate (MMR) in public health facilities in the last 5 years; 44% reduction in new-born death at health facilities in the last 5 years; decline in HIV prevalence from 6.6% (2015) to 1.8% (2020).
The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) of the Federal Ministry of Health ranked Cross River State and the 2nd best performing state in 2020. These remarkable achievements were made possible by her strategic investment and re-organisation of the Cross River state health system founded on a robust primary health care system as the fulcrum of its universal health coverage (UHC) agenda. She started the operationalization of the Cross River state Health insurance scheme covering over 80,000 cross Riverians in both Public and private sector within 6 months driving the state towards the attainment of universal Health coverage. Dr Edu as Commissioner for Health in Cross River state managed COVID-19 pandemic in her state as the chairman of COVID-19 Response Taskforce, where she performed exceptionally well as the state recorded almost the lowest number of cases and mortality in the country. Her outstanding public health response preparedness and innovation brought about the introduction of face mask as a preventive measure against COVID-19 long before it was recommended by World Health Organization and the countries Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19.
Her unique leadership qualities saw her emerge the Chairman of the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum since 2020 to 2022. In this capacity, she has reformed the organisation, giving it a legal status, and formally affiliated with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. She organized the first ever health summit by the Forum which facilitated strategic engagement of the health commissioners with development partners, private sector, academia and the civil society to bridge information gap that existed between them, review progress towards UHC, identify opportunities for improvement and foster strategic partnerships to serve Nigerians better through policy actions and optimization of investments.
Dr Betta Edu was also appointed by President Buhari to represent the National council on Health as a member of the Presidential Health Reform committee chaired by the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osibanjo Prior to her appointment as Commissioner for Health, she served as the pioneer Director General/CEO of CRSPHCDA where she established the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency (CRSPHCDA) in 2016, and successfully created at least one functional primary healthcare center (PHC) in every ward in Cross River state (built 60 new PHCs and revitalized 200). In line with her UHC policy agenda, she established the Cross River State Health Insurance Scheme which has over 80,000 enrollees accessing quality healthcare, and fully protected from financial risk.
She established partnerships with local and international development partners and mobilized over USD10 million into the state health system to support strategic investments in resilient systems for sustainable health (RSSH) and quality healthcare service coverage.
She revolutionized the primary healthcare system in the state through policies and programmes that promoted innovation, quality of care, and efficiency. Under her leadership, the Agency developed the first ever minimum PHC service package for the state and established a framework for Traditional Birth Attendant Regulation in Cross River State. She reorganized the PHC system to promote access, equity, quality of care and efficiency. These policy actions resulted in reduction in maternal mortality rate, infant mortality rate and improved child survival rate. Working with her team she initiated the Vaccine Push System in Cross River State which strengthened the immunization program improving access to vaccines by 30%. The result of these innovative policies and strategic investments, Cross River State was ranked by UNICEF as the state with the highest child survival rate in Nigeria. Her dynamic leadership qualities and sterling achievements earned her recognition among her peers who elected her the Vice Chairman of Forum of CEOs of Primary Health Care Agencies and Boards in Nigeria (March 2018 – May 2019).
Dr. Edu serves the country and her state in numerous capacities including:
• National Women Leader, All Progressive Congress (APC) (March 2022- date)
• Special Adviser, women Affairs, Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Committee (August 2022- February 2023)
• Member, Renewed Hope Initiative; Governing Board, (June2023)
• Member, National Advisory Council (Board of Trustee) APC (03/2022- date)
• Commissioner for Health: Cross River State Ministry of Health. Cross River Nigeria (2019-2022)
• Chairman, Nigeria Health Commissioner’s Forum (July 2020 – March 2022)
• Member, Presidential Health Reform Committee (September 2021- Date)
• Member, All Progressive Congress National Reconciliation Committee (September 2021- Feb 2022)
• Member; Nigeria Country coordinating mechanism for Global fund. (2021-2022)
• Member, Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 on Special Task Team on Covid-19 for Niger Delta and Maritime Sector Response (September 2020- Date)
• Member, National Council of Health
• Chairman, Cross River State COVID-19 Response Taskforce (March 2020- March 2022)
• Chairman, Cross River State Oversight Committee on Basic Health Care Provision Fund
• Member, Board of Governors of College of Medical sciences, University of Calabar (December 2019 – Date)
• Member, National Health Insurance Scheme Drugs Supply and Implementation Board (August 2020 – Date)
• Member, Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent, Elderly Health +Nutrition National Taskforce Board
• Member, National Oversight Steering Committee, Basic Health Care Provision Fund (January 2021-date)
• Special Technical Adviser, Cross River state Privatization Council (2021 – March 2022)
• Member, Cross River State Debt Management and Project Implementation Commission (April 2019 – February 2020)
• Member, Cross River State Debt Review and Project Management Commission (July 2019 – December 2019)
•Vice President Student Union Government University of Calabar(2007-2008)
•Chairman House committee on Health and HIV SUG parliament UNICAL(2006-2007)
•Treasurer Cross River state Medical Student Association (2005-2006)