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Dr Patrick Amoth Is CS Nakhumicha’s Choice as New Health Director General

The Director General of Health is a technical advisor to the government on all matters relating to health within the healthcare sector to enhance the health and well-being of all Kenyans.

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The Cabinet Secretary (CS) of the Ministry of Health, Susan Nakhumicha, has nominated Dr Patrick Amoth, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist – a specialist doctor who manages conditions that affect the female reproductive system, to be the Director General of Health.

Generally, the Director General of Health is a technical advisor to the government on all matters relating to health within the healthcare sector to enhance the health and well-being of all Kenyans.

The post requires Parliament confirmation, but Dr Amoth, who is one of the country’s leading experts on health care and regulatory issues, is not expected to face serious opposition.

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In fact, he has been serving as the Acting Director General of Health since 2019, when he succeeded Dr John Masasabi Wekesa, making him the only one to hold such a position for the longest time and better positioning him to take up the main job now.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has been advertising and re-advertising that position since then, but the whole process has been stalling due to structural developments and changes brought about by devolution in Kenya’s 2010 Constitution.

On why Dr Amoth had not been appointed directly as the Director General of Health despite his over 27 years of professional health experience, a senior high-ranking official at the health ministry speaking to Nation said: “This has nothing to do with Dr Amoth as a person but with the system. If you remember, when the ministry got devolved, it meant that the organisational structures had to change so that the entire government aligns itself in view of the new Constitution.”

CS Nakhumicha, when reorganising the Ministry of Health in April last year, announced that Dr Amoth would continue holding the office in an acting capacity effective April 19, 2023.

But since PSC has put up the advert for the DG’s job again, the CS has clarified that Dr Amoth is fit to apply despite still being active in office as Acting Director General of Health.

“So we have to advertise for the job. The advert does not exclude Amoth from applying. I have confidence, given the experience he has. He (Amoth) should emerge as the best,” CS Nakhumicha said.

Formerly, Dr Amoth headed the Department of Health Sector Coordination and Intergovernmental Affairs before working as a Chief Medical Specialist and Senior Deputy Director of Medical Services at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital Nairobi.

In 2021, he was appointed as the World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board chairperson by the Union’s Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, during the 149th Session of the WHO Executive Board.

Dr Amoth holds a Bachelor in Medicine and Bachelor in Surgery Degree from the University of Nairobi (UON), as well as a Master of Medicine in Obstetrics and Gynecology from the same institution.

Additionally, he has a Diploma in Health Systems Management from Galilee College in Israel.

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JUSTUS KIPRONOhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Justus Kiprono is a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. He tracks Capital Markets and economic trends, infrastructure reform, government spending, and the financial impacts of state decision-making nationwide. You can reach him: [email protected]
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