5 Questions with Matiko Riro

Our monthly check-in with staff from around the world. Learn more about the people who work at CHAI.
Please tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to CHAI.

I am a medical doctor with postgraduate training in health economics. My interest is in building sustainable financing models in lower- and middle-income countries towards achieving universal health coverage (UHC). I joined CHAI three years ago after having worked in a few organizations as well as the government to drive healthcare delivery and financing reforms. The CHAI model of aligning with government plans and working to support their realization was an attraction to me.

1. What is the best thing about your job?

I have to say that I am lucky to be in this role at a time when most countries that I support are working towards achieving universal health coverage in line with the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each country I work with is using a different approach in the pursuit of UHC. This provides an opportunity to gain great insights from the diversity of ideas, which I can then share across the countries I support. Moreover, I work with teammates drawn from different countries and cultures, which goes a long way in building me as a person.

2. When do you feel the most inspired by your work?

At the center of our work at CHAI is the patient. Whatever complex or simple reforms that we drive at global, national, or sub-national levels, are always geared towards improving access to healthcare for all or at the very least improve the way care is delivered to them. I am always inspired when I interact with patients or patient groups that are benefiting from reforms that I am supporting across different countries.

3. In your experience, what skills are the most crucial to succeeding at CHAI?

Beyond the technical skills which are an obvious basic requirement, analytical, communication, and presentation skills are a great asset. At CHAI, we are frequently called upon by our government partners to provide support in diverse areas, which can be challenging. The ability to critically think through and analyze available data within a short period of time is key. The ability to articulate the results well is a great plus.

4. Who is someone you admire, and why?

My parents. They managed to raise nine children with so little and inspired them to achieve things that they themselves never achieved and had no idea about them. As a parent now, I always reflect on their principles as I raise my children.

5. What is your favorite quote of all time and why?

“We are captives of our own identities, living in prisons of our own creation.” This is a quote I picked from the TV series “Prison Break” many years ago. Any moment I feel pushed to act or do something based on who or what I am, this quote always comes to my rescue.

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