Eldoret town is an urban centre that grew as a result of its strategic location during the construction of the Kenya – Uganda railway. Over the years, the residents in the larger Uasin Gishu County have been eking a living through agriculture.
With the rapid expansion of E-town as it is nicknamed, other sectors have also seen a boom occasioned by the rise in population. Currently, Eldoret contributes greatly to the economy of Kenya through manufacturing, real estate, hospitality, transport and tourism. It is also a renowned medical hub with well equipped hospitals, training institutions and hundreds of medical practitioners. In this article, WoK chronicles the entrepreneurs behind leading private hospitals in Eldoret.
Dr. Florentius Koech – Top Hill Hospital
Dr. Florentius Koech is a renowned neurosurgeon who has an illustrious career in medicine. He is also a lecturer at the Moi University School of Medicine.
Popularly known as F. Koech, his love for medicine grew when aged 10 years after he stayed in an isolation ward for 3 months. It took the intervention of an American neurosurgeon who ordered drugs from abroad that helped in restoring his health. It is suspected he was suffering from tetanus.
“The doctor changed my life. I wanted to be like him and to make a difference because from the pain I had, he gave me hope. All through high school, I knew I wanted to be a neurosurgeon,” he told the Standard.
F. Koech studied at Tenwek High School for ‘O’ levels then proceeded to Alliance High School for his ‘A’ levels. He studied medicine at University of Nairobi, completing his undergraduate degree in 1996. He then specialized in general surgery and finished his master’s degree in 2002.
In 2004, the iconic medic went on to study at University of Melbourne, Australia then did his internship at Indiana University. It is reported that he turned down an offer of being an Australian citizen because he was against brain drain.
When he came back to Kenya and settled in Eldoret as a neurosurgeon, he was the only specialist in this discipline outside Nairobi. Dr. Koech received accolades for his dedication in saving lives during the deadly 2008 post election violence. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Top Hill Brain and Spine Hospital.
Dr. Swarup Mishra – Mediheal Hospital
Swarup Mishra is the chairman and founder of Mediheal Group of Hospitals. He is also the current Kesses Constituency MP who has adopted the Kalenjin names Kiprop Arap Chelule.
He relocated to Kenya in 1997 alongside his wife, Dr. Pallavi Mishra who is a fertility specialist and director at Mediheal Hospital in Eldoret. In a past interview, Mishra divulged that he started Mediheal in 2006 through his savings and loans from various banks. Currently, Mediheal has other branches in Nakuru, Nairobi, Addis Ababa and Kigali. Its total investment is estimated to be over Ksh 10 billion.
Outside politics and entrepreneurship, Mishra is known for his philanthropy, flamboyance and humour. He has a taste for gold rings and his fingers presumably bear more rings than Saturn. Mishra loves partying, and the opposite is a big lie.
Dr. Kibor Lelei – St. Lukes Orthopedic and Trauma Hospital
St. Lukes Orthopedic and Trauma Hospital is located opposite Moi University’s School of Dentistry. It was founded by Dr. Kibor Lelei who is an orthopedist and lecturer at the Moi University School of Medicine.
The hospital was founded in 2005 as a clinic and orthopedic supplies facility. Seven years later, St Lukes opened its inpatient hospital that currently handles maternity, medical and new born cases. Dr. Lelei has seen his hospital conduct life saving surgeries and he recounts one incident where a patient who has not walked for 13 years was able to get back to her feet after he led other medics in performing total knee replacement.
Dr Kipkoech Ruto – Reale Hospital
Reale Hospital is located in the lower Elgon View Estate in Eldoret and also has an outpatient clinic in Eldoret town. The facility has other branches in Kabarnet and Kitale towns.
It was founded by Dr. Kipkoech Ruto, an entrepreneur who was elected as the Vice President of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2019. Dr. Ruto is also a lecturer in the Microbiology and Parasitology Department of Moi University.
Prior to venturing into medical entrepreneurship, Ruto had invested in the matatu industry but the business hit headwinds. He incepted Reale Hospital in 2009.
Other popular Eldoret private hospitals whose owners are largely unknown are Racecourse, Elgon View, Cedar, Eldoret Hospital, Fountain and Rapha among others.