Dr Matiko Riro, 38

Regional Technical Adviser

Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)
My Story

Growing up, Dr Matiko, a middle child in a family of nine, hoped to follow his brother’s career path.

“I was born and bred in Makararangwe village in Kuria East, Migori. I admired my elder brother who is in the medical field. You can call it peer influence at a family level,” he says.

Three years after attaining a degree in Bachelor of Medicine at the University of Nairobi, he won a Commonwealth scholarship that enabled him to study a Master of Science in Public Health (Health Economics) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“I came back home to lead conversations on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the Ministry of Health and carry out assignments on health financing across Africa. My career journey started at Eldama Ravine, Baringo County where I worked as a medical officer,” he says.

"When you grow up in a village like mine that is resource-constrained, there is a push. I developed an ambition to go beyond and start conversations to drive global policy change within the health sector."

Dr Matiko works as the regional technical advisor for Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). “I will be celebrating three years since I joined Clinton. My work involves looking into health financing—how countries are working to attain universal health coverage and the issue of funding,” he says.

Part of his work, which involves helping start-ups and health tech navigate the African space got the team at Bill and Melinda Gates foundation interested. Now, he works on the advisory panel of the Foundation to improve maternal health.

With more than a decade of work experience, Dr Matiko’s achievements come from different levels.

“Becoming a medical doctor and winning a Commonwealth scholarship was a great start for me. In this space that I am in, a good day is when a policy document that I have been working on and geared to influencing access to healthcare is adopted even in countries that I am yet to step foot in. Also, helping companies do things like sickle cell screening in Africa,” he says.

His driving force, he says, is his background. “When you grow up in a village like mine that is resource-constrained, there is a push. I developed an ambition to go beyond and start conversations to drive global policy change within the health sector,” he says. To wind down, the doctor listens to reggae music. “I am unapologetically a reggae fan who dreams of being a DJ someday”.

Lilys Njeru