Dr. Shakira Choonara

Youth Ambassador, African Union; Public health practitioner and Operation Smile Ambassador for South Africa

    Dr Shakira Choonara is an award-winning independent public health practitioner, bold activist, renowned public speaker and Operation Smile Ambassador for South Africa (SA). She is a dynamic and budding social entrepreneur, the recent founder of a development consultancy firm. In 2018-2020 she served on the inaugural African Union Youth Council and is presently the AMREF Africa AHAIC Commissioner for universal health coverage. This past year she has also served as the Guest Editor of the Feminist Journal, Agenda published by Taylor and Francis.

    Dr Choonara is a recipient of a number of prestigious awards including being listed as the Mail and Guardian 50 Most Powerful Women, Destiny Magazine’s Most Powerful Woman under 40, 100 influential Young Africans and the Woman of the Year in Health in SA. Dr Choonara attained her PhD (Public Health) at the age of 27 years, an Honours (Cum Laude) and Masters in Demography from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

    “She is widely recognised for her work and experience in health policy and systems research, specifically universal health coverage, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health rights, non-communicable diseases, HIV and youth development.”

    Dr Choonara has spearheaded a range of health projects in research and advocacy across the African continent and is currently working on an impressive list of projects linked to the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization, international and regional non-governmental organizations. Outside of healthcare, she serves on the Board of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, deepening non-racialism in SA, she is passionate about strengthening community level work and as an all-rounder, she is currently pursuing acting classes.

    3:00pm – 3:50pm EAT

    Monday, 8 March 2021 Day 1

    Roundtable: Launch of the AHAIC Report on the State of UHC in Africa

    To ensure that Africa is on track in progressing towards the achievement of UHC targets by 2030, Amref Health Africa has established an independent commission tasked with reviewing progress and providing recommendations on leadership, accountability, technology/innovation, and health security, to help guide the continent towards these targets. As part of its mandate, the AHAIC Commission on the State of UHC in Africa will share a State of UHC in Africa Report, which will map the progress of African countries towards their UHC goals. The report will also reflect on successes, barriers and lessons learned on the journey towards providing equitable access, quality health care and financial protection in Africa. This session will feature a moderated roundtable, where Commissioners will share and discuss the findings of the report.