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Dr Rosendo Ayres Ribeiro: The Story of the Doctor on a Zebra

Created by David Karanja In History 27 May 2022

Dr. Rosendo Ayres Ribeiro must have looked very strange whenever he went about his medical duties. Perhaps from the fact that he had originally come from Goa, in India, or perhaps because he rode a zebra mule, which was neither a horse nor a zebra but a crossbreed between the two.

Rosendo Ayres Ribeiro arrived in Kenya to work as a doctor in 1899. He practiced surgery at the Indian Bazaar, now called Biashara Street. He operated under a tent and it was under that tent that he invented an anti-malaria drug which was patented and sold to an international pharmaceutical firm.

Dr. Ribeiro was also well known for his work in the community and was awarded an OBE as well as 16 acres of land. In a bid to integrate Goans into the education system in Kenya, Dr. Ribeiro donated some of this land for the construction of the Dr. Ribeiro Goan School. In 1965, it was changed to Parklands Boys school and finally, in 2015, it was changed yet again to Dr. Ribeiro Parklands School.

Dr. Ribeiro died in London in 1951 at the age of 80. He is remembered for his flamboyance, his professionalism, and most of all for his philanthropy.

Dr. Rosendo Ayres Ribiero's legacy lives on

In the past 15 years, the Kenyan government has made great strides in preventing and controlling malaria. It has issued insecticide-treated bed nets, sprayed people's homes with insecticides, and ensured that there is widespread diagnostic testing. These efforts have resulted in a significant drop in transmission rates.

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