Lesley Odendal remembers switching on the
television and watching with growing admiration
as hundreds of Treatment Action Campaign activists
marched to demand access to drugs that would
prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
"I just thought, Wow! Here is an example of an
organisation that empowers people with HIV to fi ght
Now, fi ghting for change in the public health
sector has become her life's work. Odendal
describes her current role with Medecins sans
Fronti�res (Doctors without Borders) as "keeping
[her] fi nger on the pulse� of the organisation's four
projects in Southern Africa, which focus on helping
governments to improve HIV/Aids and TB policies,
streamlining public health systems and facilitating
migrants' access to health care.
"The people we work with on the ground are so
busy taking care of the sick and the marginalised that
expecting them to fi ght for the bigger public health
policy issues is too much,� she says.
Lunch spot: Portobello Cafe, Long Street, Cape Town