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Epidemic Preparedness and Response Technical Officer

Location: Brazzaville, Congo
Last Date: August 20, 2011

At DAI, it's the people who make the difference.
DAI works at the cutting edge of international development, combining technical excellence, professional project management, and exceptional customer service to solve our clients’ most complex problems. Since 1970, DAI has worked in 150 developing and transition countries, providing comprehensive development solutions in areas including crisis mitigation and stability operations, democratic governance and public sector management, agriculture and agribusiness, private sector development and financial services, economics and trade, HIV/AIDS, avian influenza control, water and natural resources management, and energy and climate change. Clients include international development agencies, international lending institutions, private corporations and philanthropies, and host-country governments.


Job Description:
WHO/AFRO’s Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response Program (EPR) supports Member States of the African Region to establish and implement functional integrated national early warning and epidemic preparedness and response systems. These systems aim to improve prediction, early detection, and rapid response to epidemic and pandemic prone diseases and other public health emergencies in the African Region. These preparedness and response systems also maintain a strong foundation in national and regional public health capacity, as well as an effective coordinated response, as envisaged under the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).

Recognizing the need for strengthening public health surveillance and response systems WHO/AFRO, Member States, and technical partners adopted the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response Strategy (IDSR). IDSR aims to improve the ability of all levels of the health system to detect, confirm, and respond more timely to diseases and other public health events in order to reduce high levels of death, illness and disability in African communities by making explicit the required skills and activities sufficient for each level in order to achieve a functional disease surveillance, laboratory and response system.

The EPR program also works in close collaboration with the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) which is a technical collaboration of existing technical institutions and networks who pool human and technical resources for the rapid identification, confirmation and response to outbreaks of international importance. GOARN provides an operational framework to link this expertise and skill to keep the international community constantly alert to the threat of outbreaks and ready to respond. Regionalization of GOARN activities is helping to identify and assess regional public health risks, engage appropriate regional technical institutions and partners, implement training courses and workshops for outbreak preparedness and response, and support rapid outbreak response operations. This enhances WHO Regional Office capacity to provide technical support to countries and supports networking with additional technical partners and capacities.


In the context of the constant threat of epidemic prone diseases and other serious public health threats impacting Member States in the African region, WHO/AFRO seeks an Epidemic Alert and Response Technical Officer to support Member States and partners in the region in epidemic preparedness and response. The technical officer will contribute towards strengthening the capacity for rapid detection, confirmation, and response to epidemic prone diseases as well as other public health emergencies.

Location: WHO/AFRO in Brazzaville, Congo
Dates: 01 August 2011 – 01 July 2012 - renewable for one additional year upon funding availability

Scope of Work:

• The AFRO Epidemic Alert and Response Technical Officer will work with the EPR team under direct supervision of the EPR Program Manager and in collaboration with existing regional staff and international and national experts with a focus on two specific lines of work: (1) to lead a regional process to develop national outbreak response plan guidance with other partners such as USAID, US/CDC and WHO GOARN and its adaptation at the country-level; and (2) support the development and training of a cadre of available experts to participate as part of regional outbreak response teams.

1. Outbreak Preparedness and Response Plan Guidance Development and Promotion

• Develop operational and technical guidance for the development of national and regional outbreak preparedness and response plans in accordance with the International Health Regulations (IHR) and within the IDSR Strategic framework and IDSR Technical Guidelines.
• Promote the adaptation and adoption of national outbreak response plans across the region; she/he will provide guidance and advice to countries on national outbreak response plan development, strengthen their capacities for timely and effective response in the context of the International Health Regulations (IHR).
• Assess country level of preparedness for and response to epidemic and other public health emergencies
• Monitor the implementation of epidemic response plans through capacity building, table top exercises and the regular evaluation of national outbreak response activities
• Establish outbreak response management protocols and develop a resource library of outbreak response technical and operational guidance for regional rapid response teams, network participants and Member States to access and share in order to promote best practices and lessons learned in outbreak response.
• Work with the EPR team to identify outbreak information management policies and protocols including clearance/information sharing requirements in accordance with existing WHO/AFRO policies.
• Support the development of a system for outbreak data collection and identify the requirements for managing and generating information for public health decision making.

2. Development of Regional Outbreak Response Teams and GOARN

• In collaboration with GOARN and in support of existing regional and global strategies and policies, support the development and implementation of regional networking activities modeled on best practices / lessons learned from other regional networking activities for adaptation in the African Region.
• Identify procedures and mechanisms for linking the rapid response teams and the Regional network to the global network in order to obtain additional resources as required
• Develop communication strategies and advocacy materials for engaging potential technical partners in Africa.
• Develop and adapt regional procedures for coordination, activation and logistics support to regional network partner for preparedness and response activities, including risk assessment, training and rapid response.
• In collaboration with GOARN, develop a comprehensive regional database of technical institutions, experts, and their capability to support regional alert and response operations and establish a system for maintaining the information within the database.
• Coordinate linkages with institutions or organizations with training expertise to assist with the review, adaptation, and instruction of existing and new materials and information in outbreak response.
• Work with Regional, Inter-Country Support teams (Ouagadougou, Harare, and Libreville) and high-priority Country Directors to develop networking activities to support regional alert and response strategies and policies. .
• Other related duties, as required.

Basic Qualifications:

Basic degree in a medical field with an advanced degree in public health, medicine or epidemiology preferred.

Language: Fluency in English and French is desired.

Skills and experience:

Demonstrated experience in developing international public health guidance and or related materials.
Excellent organizational and analytical skills with ability to multitask, identify and solve problems.
Excellent interpersonal skills with ability to promote cohesive action and convince officials with tact and diplomacy.
A practical understanding of the constraints that must be overcome at national and sub-national levels.
Ability to write in a clear and concise manner, and to present factual information.
Demonstrated computer skills with emphasis on database management

Previous experience working in the African Region with, or within UN organizations and the USAID system as well as first-hand knowledge of UN, WHO, and or bilateral agency work in support of outbreak alert and response preparedness and implementation and their practices and procedures.
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