Dr David Karuri, 39

Consultant Surgeon

Dr Karuri is one of a handful advanced trauma and life-support instructors in Africa. He is also a six-time East Africa Superbike champion.

A surgeon by training, who focuses on delivering specialised surgical care in resource-austere environments, Dr Karuri has served at the Kapenguria County Referral Hospital for the past seven years.

His impact and leadership touch remains starkly evident at the Level Five Hospital which serves a population of more than one million people.

The Aga Khan University Hospital-trained laparoscopic surgeon is hailed for his streak of firsts: The first Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the WRC Safari Rally Kenya, having performed the first successful brain surgery at the Kapenguria County Referral Hospital and the first successful Caesarean section at Muriranjas Sub-County Hospital, Murang’a since the hospital was established in 1932. Dr Karuri is easily compared to Ben Carson or, as his partner calls him, “gifted hands.”

In December 2021, he received the prestigious Presidential Award of Moran of the Grand Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) for his exceptional commitment to public service.

During his tenure in Kapenguria, he introduced and operationalised the six-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and High Dependency Units (HDU), a three-bed post-anesthesia care unit, five-unit renal dialysis centre, reproductive operating theatres, and the CT-MRI multi-storey building, which will cater for the local and regional demands and minimise referrals to other facilities.

An avid sportsman who leads the WRC Safari Rally air and ground evacuation teams, Dr Karuri was instrumental in the return of the Safari Rally to Kenya and its extension to 2026 by raising the medical response profile of the event in 2021, following a 19-year hiatus.

Elias Makori