Surveillance and Operational Research Specialist

Malaria Consortium is one of the world’s leading non-profit organisations specialising in the comprehensive prevention, control and treatment of malaria and other communicable diseases among vulnerable and under privileged populations. We increasingly find our work on malaria can be effectively integrated with other similar public health interventions for greater impact and therefore expanded our remit to include child health and neglected tropical disease interventions.We are recruiting to fill the position below:Job Title: Surveillance and Operational Research Specialist Location: Abuja, Nigeria Donor title: Surveillance and Operational Research Expert Department: Technical Length of contract: Five years Role type: National Grade: 9 Reporting to: Senior MEAL Specialist Country and Project BackgroundMalaria is highly endemic in Nigeria and it remains one of the leading causes of childhood and maternal morbidity and mortality in the country.Nigeria is deeply committed to making progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and it recognizes the fact that, without firm efforts to control malaria, achievement of the targets related to child mortality, maternal mortality, and reducing the burden of communicable disease will not be possible. Malaria therefore constitutes a significant development challenge for Nigeria. Interventions for reducing malaria burden in the country are documented in the national malaria strategic plan with Government taking the lead in its implementation with the support of all the RBM partners.The DFID funded and Malaria Consortium led malaria programme, SUNMAP, provided technical assistance and other support to the Nigeria National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) covering the period 2008 to 2016. The anticipated follow on project, SUNMAP2 has been designed to strengthen the management and technical capacity of NMEP, State Malaria Elimination Programme (SMEP) and their stakeholders to drive the implementation of the National Malaria Strategic Plan, 2014 to 2020 and achieve its ambitious targets.This will include short term technical assistance and technical assistance embedded in NMEP in key areas of programme management, evidence generation and use, and capacity building across all project outputs and ultimately reducing Nigeria’s malaria burden and strengthening the Government of Nigeria’s health systems capacity to ensure long term programme and impact sustainability.Job PurposeThe Surveillance and Operational Research Specialist will provide technical inputs (M&E design, statistical and analytical support), as well as other M&E support such as strengthening of M&E standards and quality in all project output areas. In addition, he/she will contribute to the learning agenda, particularly in surveillance and operational research, working closely with the other technical experts in the project.The position holder will directly contribute to performance monitoring against the project logframe and provide technical assistance on key results measurement work including surveys.The position holder will contribute to evidence base and support (and lead as appropriate) peer-reviewed publications, technical reports, conferences and presentations.Scope of WorkThe Surveillance and Operational Research Specialist will report to the Senior MEAL Specialist for SUNMAP2 and will be responsible for providing direct support and technical assistance in surveillance and operational research to the project and its partners. The post holder will be a member of Malaria Consortium’s M&E Community of Practice (CoP) and Research Group.The post holder will work with the Senior MEAL expert to share responsibility in ensuring that high quality surveillance and operational research approaches are implemented in SUNMAP2.Key Working Relationships:The Surveillance and Operational Research Specialist will work closely with the Senior MEAL Specialist, as well as the M&E Leaders of the M&E Community of Practice and the core members of the Research Group.They will also work closely with and provide regular support to long term technical assistance (LTTA) to NMEP on evidence use and learning. In the implementation of surveys and other data collection activities, he/she will need to liaise with stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Health, State Ministry of Health, partner organisations, academic institutions and subcontractors.As part of the accountability work he/she will have periodic communications with partner organisations. Other key external working relationships include NMEP M&E Sub-committee of the Malaria Technical Working Group and the Research Expert Group which reports to this Sub-committee.Key AccountabilitiesSurveillance Contributions (40%):Work with SUNMAP2 team, NMEP and SMEPs in SUNMAP2 states, to support better malaria surveillance and epidemiological mapping to enable better targeting of interventions to epidemiological and climatic patterns (e.g.: larviciding and IRS)Support the expansion of entomological and resistance surveillance sites and systems to provide timely evidence needed for the critical responses to the threat of vector and parasite resistance. Work with NMEP and SMEPs in SUNMAP2 state in building local capacity for these to be sustained post project.Work with other partners to oversee the delivery of an emergency preparedness response, under the contingency mechanism, through a call-down contract measures including: mobilising the requisite technical and operational skills, innovations, institutional linkages, financial and administrative management and value for money.Participate in the development of field testing of innovative tools and approaches in surveys (including the SUNMAP2 longitudinal survey), rapid assessments, routine data collection and surveillanceProvide technical support on results measurement designs and sample size calculationsConduct data processing and statistical analysis of survey and other epidemiological data, with a focus on SUNMAP2 partners.Remain abreast of innovations in M&E and in discussion and agreement with Senior MEAL Specialist, introduce them when appropriate. These include, but are not limited to, innovative methods/technologies and methods for data collection/reporting that may improve or serve as substitutes for standard methods (e.g. mobile technologies for data collection, alternatives to household surveys)Support centralisation of all datasets and their corresponding documentationFacilitate the use of information management tools such as dashboards to support decision-makers at national and state levels to make better use of data, include data from SUNMAP2Operational Research Contributions (35%):Coordinate day-to-day technical preparations, implementation and evaluation of research activities in SUNMAP2 states.Supervise SUNMAP2 operational research project implementation and outputs, quality control data and carry out quarterly project performance assessments and other reports as requiredSupport statistical analysis of operational research data, and contribute to reports and publications to disseminate among partnersWrite quarterly and annual reports for projects for donors and other audiences as requiredCoordinate the implementation of in-country dissemination and research uptake activity plans, such as stakeholder consultations, media engagements, and country specific project learning outputsAdvise and support the SUNMAP2 state teams in managing activity plans, contractors/consultants and budgets for specific operational research activities.Facilitate development of an operational research agenda by NMEP and SMEPs in SUNMAP2 states, including research in the private sector.Support the development and operationalisation of the operational research agenda, and associated measurement indicators and documentation, in partnership with NMEP and SMEPs in SUNMAP2 states.Provide support as required to NMEP in the implementation of a longitudinal study over the course of SUNMAP2.Develop guidance documents on how operational research should be implemented and monitored using the project results measurement framework. This will include study protocols and SOPs.Support, and as appropriate lead, the documentation of operational research and lessons learnt from the project including production of manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals, learning briefs, learning papers and general documentation (e.g. narrative reports, infographics).Support the dissemination of lessons learned to national and global audiences through conference presentations, peer-reviewed publications, and technical reports.Quality assurance of surveillance and operational research quality (10%):Working with the Senior MEAL Specialist, contribute to the development and embedding of standards of surveillance and operational research qualityAs required, contribute to proposal development, including the quality assurance of surveillance and operational research componentsCapacity building and institutional strengthening (10%):Participate in building project capacity in surveillance and operational research, mainly in the NMEP and SMEPs but also where appropriate within SUNMAP2 partner organisationsWork closely with long term technical assistance (LTTA) to NMEP to strengthen its institutional capacity to use evidence for decision-making and to capture learningSupport the Senior MEAL Specialist in capacity building efforts to strengthen both individual and institutional capacities within the SMEP and LGA levels working with State level MEAL OfficersIn liaison with the Senior MEAL Specialist and the CoP of M&E and Research Group Leaders, support capacity building initiatives of the project’s M&E team and contribute to the organisation’s strategic objectivesExternal Representation (5%):Participate in national or regional technical working groups as relevantRepresent SUNMAP2 at regional, national and international meetings as required, and participate in technical discussions and strategic planning meetings of SUNMAP2 technical team 

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