Betta Edu: An Enigma that is here to stay
Dr. Betta Edu, Commissioner for Health Cross River State and a Chairman if the COVID -19 response Taskforce, she is the Acting National Chairman of the Nigeria Commissioners for Health forum. Member RMNCAEHealth plus Nutrition Board, member NHIS drug implemention Board was a member of the Debt management and signature project Development commission, the erstwhile pioneer Director General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency (CRSPHCDA) in Nigeria (an agency which she built from scratch) and former National Vice President of the Forum of CEOs of all Primary Health Care Agencies and Boards in the country who is formerly the National Vice Chairman of all Commissioners for Health forum in Nigeria.
Dr. Edu has demonstrated leadership and unwavering commitment to advancing and revitalizing health care across her state and beyond. Her commitment to providing health care to the less privileged and underserved is unprecedented.
A Harvard certified medical Doctor With a strong educational background and a Master in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom, Dr. Betta Edu brings a wealth of valuable knowledge, skills and experience with her into her role as the Head of an Agency and the Youngest Special Adviser to a Governor in Nigeria. Since becoming the first ever appointed Director General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency in 2015, Dr. Betta Edu has proven to be an incredible community leader and visionary, having made many significant and vital contributions to the improvement of health care across the state. She has received over 400 Awards for excellence in service (her state was awarded the best improved health state in the south-south by Federal Government of Nigeria, World bank and Thisday Editorials). She has been adjudged to have saved over one million lives by her numerous innovative interventions in the primary health system in her state and country working under the mentorship of her father the Governor of Cross River state Sen. Ben Ayade and his dear wife Dr Linda Ayade. She also pays school fees in form of scholarship for every pupil attending public schools in her Ward Adadama in Abi LGA (units of LGA).
Under her leadership and direction, she midwife the creation of Primary Health care development Agency and institutionalized “primary health care under one roof”
A number of innovative interventions have been seen in Nutrition, HIV/AIDS Control, Immunisation, malaria elimination program, reproductive health and family planning as well as monitoring and evaluation. For instance several statewide immunization campaigns have been implemented, with millions of children now protected from debilitating and preventable diseases. To further improve the State’s immunization efforts, Dr. Edu has worked tirelessly to improve cold chain equipment monitoring and has established a revolutionary Push plus System to transport vaccines from the state cold store to health centers in various remote communities in local government areas; thus ensuring the vaccines arrive in optimal conditions. Additionally, through strengthening of the nutrition program in the state and the CRSPHCDA outreach initiatives led by Dr. Edu, over 700,000 children have received Vitamin A supplementation, micronutrient were distributed to support malnourished children and exclusive breast feeding is becoming an enshrined rule in several communities, contributing to the healthy development of children across the state. She has held several self sponsored free medical outreaches that have touched lives of over 100,000 people in the state. She worked with her team to attract over 180 solar systems from WE CARE SOLAR to light up several primary health facilities in remote areas that have no access to electricity. The agency under her leadership has built, renovated and equipped over 100 primary health facilities in rural areas where access was a problem.
Dr.Edu’s compassion for the most vulnerable people in Cross River State is evident through the outreach initiatives she has led under Operation Hard to Reach Areas, where she fought to bring health care to 68 Hard-to-reach communities in CRS. Thousands of the most poor and vulnerable cross riverians have received free surgeries, malaria testing and treatment services, nutritious food supplementation, de-worming treatments, long-lasting insecticide nets, vitamin supplementation, and educational health presentations to disseminate information and build the capacity of citizens to live healthy lifestyles. She is an advocate for the right of women and advocates for youth inclusiveness in leadership positions.
Dr. Edu courageously tries new and innovative strategies to improve health care services in facilities across CRS. She has led projects such as the free delivery kit initiative, which equipped PHC facilities with delivery kits to provide enabling environment for new mothers, encouraging them to visit health centers and receive vital services from health care professionals. Additionally, Dr. Edu has renovated General Hospital calabar, General Hospital Ugep and General Hospital Ogoja in 6 months of being a Commissioner for health. She advocated for the construction of world-class referral hospitals, as well as the renovation and equipping of numerous PHC facilities to bring them up to standard with the minimum service package, laying the groundwork for the State Health Insurance Scheme to be successfully implemented. She supported the launch of the state health insurance scheme which is to help her state achieve UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE. She oversaw a process that took over 400 ghost workers off the payroll creating space for persons to be employed.
Due to these achievements and more, It is evident that Dr. Edu is a strong, determined, compassionate and caring African leader that will continue to change lives and make a lasting vital impact throughout several communities. In her words “I will die smiling if my country and other third world countries of the world can achieve universal Health Coverage”. She won the ‘Pan African Humanitarian award 2018’ with presentation in Morocco and several other international awards. She was once the Vice President of the Students Union Government University of Calabar a role where she was distinguished as the most dedicated student Union Leader. Indeed she is an exceptional leader and our Generation is proud of her