Doctors without Borders
Andisiwe Candice Sehoma, 30, started at Doctors without Borders in 2017 as an intern. She has gone on to become an advocacy advisor and a leading expert on issues to do with access to medicines in South Africa. Part of her job is to push for access to affordable medicine, diagnostics and vaccines through fighting for the adoption of policies, laws and practices that safeguard public health.
“My expertise looks at the intersections between intellectual property, medical innovation, human rights and access to medicines,” she says. Andisiwe’s job is not easy — she takes on huge pharmaceutical corporations, bureaucratic regulatory bodies and stubborn governments to ensure people can access the healthcare they need at an affordable price.
Her work ranges from pushing for more local manufacturing capacity in South Africa to lobbying the government to change its patent laws, to negotiating with big pharma to drop their prices, to doing presentations for the WHO. Andisiwe, who has a BA in Health Sciences and Social Services and an honours degree in Development Studies is regularly called on by the government, civil society and major organisations to explain the intricacies of access to medicines.
Before joining Doctors without Borders, she founded an NGO which worked with her home community in Alex, Johannesburg, to build pit latrines.
- BA degree Health Sciences and Social Services, Unisa
- Honours Development Studies, University of Pretoria
- Short Course, Healthy Policy and Analysis, Wits
- Short Course, Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer & Commercialisation
- One Young World Ambassador 2012.
- South African Washington International Program delegate.
- The keynote speaker for The National Women in Water consultative conference, invited by the National Department of Water and Sanitation
- 2014 Lead SA Community Hero of the Year
- The Elizabeth Arden Community Hero of the Year
- Participant in Preparing Global Leaders Academy in the Middle East in Jordan
- Listed on the Oprah Winfrey Power list
- Magazine feature presented at the European Union Commission on the need for boosting African manufacturing and the right to access vaccines in Africa
- Featured on the Standard Bank Top Women, 2021
One of the memories of the younger me I have kept close is of moments I would pretend I was being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. I would always do this when I was alone and washing dishes at home. I have always aspired to have something to give to the world. In hindsight, those early years of playing pretend were essentially me having conversations with myself and me speaking greatness into my life and I believe this has culminated in the woman I am today.
There is no rush, give yourself time and fully immerse yourself in the different seasons of your life.
I will narrow it down to the health sector. In five years’ time I would like to see an improved pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. Improved manufacturing capacity, better policies and regulations to facilitate local manufacturing of medical products as well as an increased ability to supply national and regional demand for pharmaceutical products. This is all very important for better access to health, for national health security, but I believe has the potential to impact other socio-economic issues, such as our high unemployment rates, as well as improve our local economy.