African Health Leader: Dr Maxwel Okoth

My name is Dr. Maxwel Okoth.  I’m a medical doctor by profession, Founder & CEO of Ruai Family Hospital.  Ruai Family Hospital is a private projected hospital in Kenya that offers quality affordable healthcare.  We thrive to make healthcare accessible, affordable, and at the same time provide quality to the people in the lower mass market.

My passion for the medical field started about ten years ago.  I initially had not planned to do medicine, but then again, when my results from my secondary education came through, I had gotten an A, and so in my country when you get an A and everybody believes that medicine is the best career, so my father told me that I have to do medicine.  I’d thought of doing bachelor of commerce.

I’ve been brought up in a banker setup family.  My mother was a banker, and so I’ve always had this passion for enterprise, so I decided when I went to medical school with a passion for medicine, I decided to link these two things and come up with something that is of benefit to the society.

When I started my internship seven years ago at one of the provincial hospitals, because it’s a requirement that after medical school, you have to do a mandatory internship…I saw the daily problems that Kenyans go through in terms of access to healthcare, in terms of affordability to healthcare, and I said I need to sort this problem, and so I started shopping around for places that didn’t have access to healthcare, and that’s when I said that I will open something small and grow with it over time, and that’s when the passion and dream for Ruai Family Hospital came through.

We started just as an outpatient center and with a dream to one day become a full-fledged hospital.  God has been faithful.  We are now a full-fledged hospital of 50 beds.  We have another branch, which is another 10 beds.  We are putting up a 100-bed hospital.  We are opening an outpatient center, and so we want to spread this across the country and, if possible, probably go across the continent.

I started my enterprise with $3000 US dollars when I was starting.  It’s not that we were inspired to make money.  We were inspired to change lives.  In the process, we have been able to grow and also make money as well.  Anybody who wants to invest in healthcare, you need to look at life first and money second.

So, my next five-year strategic plan is we are building a 100-bed capacity hospital, which will be a multispecialty hospital looking towards tapping into the health tourism in East Africa, because we find people come in from Tanzania and Uganda and we want to tap that market, which will have a cancer center, radiology center.  We will have a pediatric unit and all that and grow it up.  That is one of them.  We hope to open our third branch in January, which will be purely outpatient, but specialist output center.  Spread our wings to other counties in my country.  We are looking at three more other countries.  If we achieve that in five years, then we’ll be good.  God willing, by the end of these five years, if all is possible, we should be on Nairobi’s stock exchange as a listed company, and that will open the doors for us to scale the heights even outside this country.

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