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KENYA: Peter Kamunyo: New NHIF boss unveiled

April 2020 Daily nation; The board of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has appointed Dr Peter Kamunyo Gathenge as the new chief executive officer with effect from next week on Tuesday.

Dr Gathenge, a health care executive, takes over from Nicodemus Odongo who has been performing the role in an acting capacity since 2018 after his predecessor — Geoffrey Mwangi — was arrested and charged with conspiracy to defeat justice and disobedience of a lawful order.

The board has had to advertise the position twice after the first round did not give it the best candidate for the position despite shortlisting three applicants for the top job.

It is from the second advertisement done in February this year that they managed to pick Dr Gathenge following a competitive recruitment process.

Mr Odongo will now continue in his role as the director for strategy, planning and marketing at the Fund.

“When acting you don’t relinquish your substantive role. I will go back to my position,” Mr Odongo said.

The board of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has appointed Dr Peter Kamunyo Gathenge as the new chief executive officer with effect from next week on Tuesday.

Dr Gathenge, a health care executive, takes over from Nicodemus Odongo who has been performing the role in an acting capacity since 2018 after his predecessor — Geoffrey Mwangi — was arrested and charged with conspiracy to defeat justice and disobedience of a lawful order.

The board has had to advertise the position twice after the first round did not give it the best candidate for the position despite shortlisting three applicants for the top job.

It is from the second advertisement done in February this year that they managed to pick Dr Gathenge following a competitive recruitment process.

Mr Odongo will now continue in his role as the director for strategy, planning and marketing at the Fund.

“When acting you don’t relinquish your substantive role. I will go back to my position,” Mr Odongo said.

According to the announcement published in the local dailies and signed by board chair Hannah Murithi, Dr Gathenge has 21 years’ experience in the healthcare sector ranging from medical insurance, supply chain and strategic purchasing.

“Dr Gathenge brings to the Fund a wealth of professional experience with an extensive background in senior leadership positions at pioneering innovative global market leaders in the field of insurance brokering and medical scheme administration and fund management,” the NHIF board said.

Dr Gathenge previously served as CEO of MedSource Group Limited, and Tai Medical Centres before that.

His appointment comes at a time when the Fund is facing a looming cash crisis as civil servants start seeking alternative medical insurance.

NHIF has been earning about Sh2 billion in premiums from the police, prisons, civil servants and other bodies including private entities.

The amount is besides the Sh5 billion premium for the police medical insurance scheme and Sh5 billion premium for civil servants’ cover paid by the National Treasury.

The Fund risks collapsing within two years unless the proposed rates President Uhuru Kenyatta halted mid last month are implemented, according to a report by a Health Financing Reforms Expert Panel (Hefrep).

The CEO position fell vacant when Mr Mwangi was arrested amid graft investigations when the Fund was reported to have lost Sh93 million after it emerged that a 23-acre parcel of land it claimed to have bought in 2002 actually belongs to a group from the Maasai community.

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