Founders and board members

The founders also form the board of the DKHF.

Paul Mertens – Chairman

The chairman of DKHF, Paul Mertens, started his career in the 1980s as a tropical doctor. Deployed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he worked for the Kenyan Ministry of Health for five years. First in Surgery and Obstetrics at Nakuru Provincial Hospital and then as District Medical Officer of Samburu and West Pokot District. In 1981 he wrote a plan to improve the health care system in West Pokot. This resulted in the establishment of the Stichting Medische Hulp Kenia (SMHK) (1982-2017) and its Kenyan partner organisations: the Netherlands Harambee Foundation for Health (NHF-h) (1999-2017) and the Netherlands Harambee Foundation for Water (NHF -w) (1987-2007) ( Because of his experience as a tropical doctor, Paul Mertens has a large local network in Kenya that he uses for the DKHF and PDHO.

In addition to his medical training, he obtained a master’s degree in public health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and a master’s degree in epidemiology from Erasmus University. He acquired his PhD with a dissertation on the importance of epidemiology in infectious disease control. He is BIG registered as a public health doctor, as well as tropical and international healthcare doctor.

Currently, he is affiliated with the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam where he teaches about and supervises research on infectious disease control and global health.

Jasmijn Tam

Jasmijn Tam is a medical student at Erasmus MC Rotterdam and will obtain her medical degree at the end of 2021. In 2017, she acquired a master’s degree in Health Care Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her interest in the Kenyan healthcare system started in 2016 after she traveled through Kenya with a group of fellow students as a part of the Global Health minor.

Thomas Reitsma

Thomas Reitsma is an Innovation & Strategy consultant at Capgemini. With a background in business administration, Thomas provides the DKHF with many relevant insights and strategies.


The board members of the DKHF are committed on a voluntary basis, without interest or reward. They travel to Kenya at their own expense.

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