Dr Shakira Choonara (29) is an award winning health researcher, bold activist and the 2017 Woman of the Year in Health, in South Africa (SA).
She is also listed as the Africa Youth Awards 100 most influential Young Africans, Destiny Magazine’s Most Powerful Woman under 40 in SA and one of News24 100 Young Nelson Mandela’s for the future.
Dr Choonara is the Obesity Prevention Coordinator for South Africa at the Washington based NGO, Global Health Advocacy Incubator.
More recently, she has been appointed to the African Union’s Youth Advisory Council. Through her previous work, in her capacity as the Adolescent Healthcare Manager at the SRHR Africa Trust (formerly known as the Southern African AIDS Trust) she successfully led and developed youth leadership and advocacy programmes including training (#SAT4YOUTH #YouthQuake) in Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights.
Through her commitment towards capacity building, she has made significant contributions to meaningful youth engagement and amplifying young voices in the health/ development sphere.
Dr Choonara holds a PhD in Public Health, an Honours (Cum Laude) and a Masters in Demography from the University of the Witwatersrand, SA. She is widely-known and published for her work in public health on the fronts of universal health coverage, health governance, gender equality, disability and malaria prevention.
Dr Choonara has also made a marked impact on social justice outside of healthcare, particularly fighting corruption, advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities and serves as SA’s ambassador for non-racism.