Poor management and graft could have killed the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). The inappropriate behaviours by top managers that saw private clinics, which the national insurer had not inspected receive payments, including endemic boardroom wars and structural problems were part of the warnings. It was always about scandals with previous top management being charged of abuse of office and conspiracy. You may wonder how, for example, ghost clinics were able to draw cheques from the hospital insurance fund. Systems were most likely being misused.
As such, Peter Kamunyo Gathege was appointed as the new CEO of the NHIF with effect from April 14, 2020. He takes over from Nichodemus Odongo who served in an acting capacity since 2018 when the former chief executive Geoffrey Mwangi was shown the door to face graft investigations. Will he steer the fund to achieve its core mandate and implement the reforms aimed at repositioning it as a strategic purchaser of healthcare benefits? How will he fair in a parastatal perceived to be too political thanks to various interests and policies at play?
Dr Kamunyo previously served as the CEO of MedSource Group Limited for nearly three years. Prior to this, he worked at GlaxoSmithKline, as the country commercial director. He also held the position of general manager at Aon Insurance Brokers and was among the leaders of the Africa Healthcare Practice Group.
He has a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Nairobi as well as a master’s degree in public health from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine at the University of London. He also sits as a non-executive board director at the Kenya Healthcare Federation and the East Africa Healthcare Federation.
With vast experience in the health sector which spans over 21 years during which he has practised in various fields including clinical medicine and healthcare management, insurance and pharmaceutical industry, he is most likely going to steady the ship.