Meet Selfless Doctor Charged With Moi's Life

  • Kenya's second President Daniel Moi at a past event. File
  • Kenya's second President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi's health has been on the hands of a personal doctor and confidante that he has retained for more than 36 straight years.

    According to a report by The University of Chicago, Dr David Silverstein came to the country for the first time in 1977, where he worked at the cath lab at the Kenyatta National Hospital and then headed of its cardiology unit before he was named the chief cardiothoracic physician for the Government of Kenya.

    Fast forward to 1983, his biggest assignment came when he was asked by  Moi to be his personal physician, a position that he has held to date.

    Dr David Silverstein.
    David Silverstein (left) received an award from the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) on September 25, 2017.

    After graduating from The University of Chicago's medical school at the age of 22, Silverstein completed his residency in Seattle and later served in the US military at an Air Force base in Taiwan.

    That experience reportedly birthed in him a desire to see more of the world, and he ended up in Kenya in 1977 and became a senior lecturer at The University of Nairobi's medical school.

    Among some high-profile individuals who have managed to pass through his hands were former Attorney General Charles Njonjo as well as former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela.

    Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka in his 2016 biography, Against All Odds, recalled Mandela's visit to the country on July 11 1990, when he was taken ill with a bout of pneumonia.

    “There was a stretcher and other medical equipment in an ambulance. I expected to see Mandela wheeled out of the plane. To our surprise, he walked out of his plane; tall, majestic but looking frail. He was escorted to The Nairobi Hospital where he was attended to by Moi’s personal physician, David Silverstein. He did not stay at the hospital for long. I think Dr Silverstein just attended to him and monitored him overnight.

    Silverstein bought a farm near Lake Naivasha, Nakuru County where he rears chickens, cows, horses, geese, dogs, and cats.

    He also married his wife Channa Silverstein who worked at The Nairobi Hospital, their first date reportedly being after the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi.

    The Silversteins.
    The Silversteins as presented in The University of Chicago alma mater catalogue.

    "After a full-days work treating nearly 500 patients, we had dinner together. We’ve been together ever since," Silverstein told the University of Chicago during a past interview.