Meet Salma Anas, President Tinubu’s special adviser on health


President Bola Tinubu on Thursday named eight special advisers, including Salma Anas, director of Family Health Services at the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).
Mrs Anas, daughter of Ibrahim Anas, a former deputy governor in Borno State, is married to Hashim Kolo, who retired in 2013 from the Nigerian Air Force as Air Commodore.

A former Commissioner for Health in Borno State, Mrs Anas’ portfolio is to advise the President on health matters.

Mr Tinubu’s choice has been hailed by many stakeholders who described the action as a step in the right direction.

These stakeholders, including the Managing Director of Health Watch, a health-focused newspaper, Vivianne Ihekweazu, said that naming an adviser on health among the first set of appointees indicates that the health sector may receive the desired attention and priority under the new administration.

Born on 23 March, 1966, Mrs Anas was raised in Maiduguri, where she completed her primary education at Shehu Garbai Primary School in 1978. Five years later, she acquired her O’ level certificate from Government Girl’s College, Maiduguri.

She received a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) at the University of Maiduguri in 1989.

Mrs Anas has over 25 years of experience in the health sector and has been involved in policy formulation, strategic development, resource mobilisation, and implementation of various health programmes at national, regional and international levels.

Before her appointment, Mrs Anas was the Director of Family Health Services at the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH). She leads key divisions, including reproductive health, child Health and nutrition, and health promotion.

Before that, she served as the Director of special projects & national coordinator health sector humanitarian crisis response of the ministry.

Mrs Anas, an internationally renowned public health expert, who has worked across various units and departments in the federal health ministry, has a passion for improving access to quality Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child Adolescent, and Elderly Health plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) services, including sexual and reproductive rights, as well as gender-based violence.

In 2011, during the first term of the incumbent Vice President Kashim Shettima as the Borno State Governor, Mrs Anas was appointed health commissioner. The appointment came when the humanitarian crisis in the state and the entire North-east region peaked. Her excellent performance in office earned her many awards from various organisations, including an award for the best performing commissioner in the North-east on polio eradication.

Mrs Anas also served as the assistant country representative/head of reproductive health/HIV, United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA), Nigeria, and the national team leader for the DFID-funded Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH2) project.

Ibrahim Anas, the father of Mrs Anas, a retired police officer from Silumthla ward of Biu Local Government Area of Borno State, joined politics in 1977 after retirement.

Mr Anas then served as the Chairman of Biu LGA and later became the deputy governor of Borno State between 1979 and 1983.

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