Being the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) at the Ministry of Health, Mercy is among the top officials who have been working round the clock to contain the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya.
Mercy is a medical doctor and a health economist policy analyst who has been in the public health space since 2010. Her first appointment in leadership was at the age of 23, right after her medical internship. She says that this was perhaps what informed her career turning point. After her internship at the Machakos Level Five Hospital, she was later posted to Meru South as a district medical officer.
She was tasked with looking after the public health of all the districts and providing a whole range of services, from immunisation and nutritional services to routine monitoring, water, sanitation, malaria, and tuberculosis management.
“I learned what it means to be a leader and to lead experts in the field. At that age, one of the biggest achievements was the integrated outreach services, particularly family planning and maternal health services in Tharaka Nithi. We had women who had never had interventions such as C-Sections, or access to family planning methods such as tubal litigation.”
"I learned what it means to be a leader and to lead experts in the field. At that age, one of the biggest achievements was the integrated outreach services, particularly family planning and maternal health services in Tharaka Nithi."
When her tenure was up, she opted to expand her skills and knowledge in the public health space. She successfully applied for an Australian scholarship for a dual Masters’ degree in health economics, policy, and leadership at a time when Kenya only had four health economists in 2013. Upon returning home, Mercy began as the Head of Health Financing and Health Economics, a role she held at the Ministry of Health until she was appointed CAS.
Besides her role, Mercy is also a joint secretary in the Universal Health Coverage task force, which is among the pillars of the Big Four Agenda of the Jubilee Government.
At every point in her career progression, mentorship and self-drive are very important. To get to where she is now, she says, someone took a leap of faith in her and provided an enabling environment that has seen her grow her career in public health leadership. This is why together with four other female leaders in public service Dr Mwangangi is spearheading a mentorship programme.