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NHIF taps medic as chief executive after two-year search

Dr Peter Kamunyo Gathege has been named as the
Dr Peter Kamunyo Gathege has been named as the new NHIF chief executive officer. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) board has appointed Peter Kamunyo Gathege as the new chief executive, taking over from Nicodemus Odongo who has been in an acting capacity since November 2018.

Dr Kamunyo’s will take the helm at the State parastatal on April 14, the board said in its announcement yesterday. He replaces Mr Odongo, who took over from Geoffrey Mwangi after the latter was kicked out following multiple allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

The search of the NHIF CEO has lasted two years with the position having been re-advertised in February despite a shortlist of three candidates after a series of interviews was forwarded to former Health minister Sicily Kariuki.

This makes it one of the few State-backed corporations to hire a CEO within weeks in a country where recruiting for a similar position are normally drawn-out.

Dr Kamunyo’s appointment comes at a time when the ministry, now headed by former Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe, has instituted a panel to guide reforms to strengthen NHIF’s capacity to deliver Universal Health Coverage.

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His experience spans 21 years during which he has practised in various health fields including clinical medicine and healthcare management, insurance and pharmaceutical industry.

“Dr Kamunyo brings to the fund a wealth of professional experience with an intensive background in senior leadership positions at pioneering innovative healthcare organisations, global market leaders in the field of insurance brokering and medical scheme administration and fund management,” said NHIF chairperson Hannah Muriithi.

“The board of management is confident that Dr Kamunyo’s expertise and experience will enable him to steer the fund to achieving its core mandate and implementation of the reforms in reposition of NHIF as a strategic purchaser of healthcare benefits towards the delivery of Universal Health Coverage,” she said.

Dr Kamunyo is a non-executive board director at the Kenya Healthcare Federation and the East Africa Healthcare Federation. He holds a master’s degree in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine at the University of London.

He has a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Nairobi.

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