Public Health Specialist at The US Embassy



Vacancy Announcement Number: 16/030


The US Mission in Dar es Salaam is seeking eligible and qualified applicants for the position of Public Health Specialist - Laboratory at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


The Public Health Specialist (Laboratory/Project Manager) works under the leadership of the Public Health Specialist (Laboratory Team Lead) as a senior laboratory program advisor to programs under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The incumbent provides comprehensive technical, administrative and managerial advice and assistance in support of building laboratory capacity which includes surveillance, research and investigation activities of host government ministries, International Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and host ministry of health partners involved in treatment of HIV/AIDS in country.

Job holder serves as a senior advisor to the host country Ministry of Health, partners and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the implementation of laboratory programs and activities.

Incumbent collaborates with host country senior scientists on the design of new public health laboratory diagnostic approaches that are based on latest research findings. Recommends procedural modifications as warranted to align with investigative protocols. Make contacts with medical staff to provide updated information on new laboratory protocols and procedures.

Monitors and evaluates progress of projects, identifying policy, organizational and personnel, logistical, and financial problems and makes or recommends revisions as necessary to overcome obstacles and constraints to progress. Identifies training needs and participates in the development / implementation of training courses for partner organizations.

These roles and responsibilities require, knowledge, as well public health technical and leadership, negotiation, advocacy, constant and clear communication with CDC, USG laboratory and other programs, MOHSW and other laboratory implementing partners and stakeholders.


Program Management, Planning and Coordination

Incumbent serves as principal coordinator for laboratory systems and services within the host country and is responsible for planning and implementation of capacity building of all laboratories to ensure consistency of results. In general, reviews individual laboratory procedures, weighing against accepted protocols and develops programs to ensure consistency. Job holder participates in developing and reviews of major initiatives including planning and writing the laboratory portion of Country Operational Plan (COP) each year and review of all cooperative agreements that require research and diagnosis of HIV/AIDS, STD, TB, malaria and emerging diseases in laboratories throughout the host country. Works with Counseling & Testing, Care and Treatment, Prevention and Strategic Information colleagues to ensure that programs are working together to complement support and capacity building.
Job holder represents CDC Tanzania Laboratory Support Program at public health, technical, policy and strategic planning meetings with collaborators. Provides guidance and direction to grantees, program collaborators and contractors on management and implementation of activities to ensure consistent with PEPFAR and international policies and guidance.
Incumbent serves as a member and advisor on the USG technical working group for strengthening linkages and coordination of laboratory service improvement activities within USG PEPFAR programs and at national level. Participate in the development of protocols for evaluation of the quality of laboratory services and recommends improvement strategies following results.
Represent CDC Tanzania in national and international meetings and workshops, and works in collaboration with laboratory cooperative agreement partners to write abstracts for presentation in national and international forums.

Technical Assistance and Oversight

Provides technical assistance and oversight to the host government and other partners in the implementation of laboratory capacity building activities, including validation of clinical molecular assays (using PCR, DNA sequencing and other modern molecular analysis techniques), evaluation of all proposals for testing programs and Public Health Evaluation (PHE) projects of PEPFAR partners, ensuring that human subjects requirements are being met, protocols are being followed appropriately and recommends amendments/approval to supervisor.
Assesses national, referral and regional laboratory capacity to support surveillance andin ensuring quality for HIV testing in all settings including National TB and Leprosy Program (NTLP) and Care and Treatment Clinics. Develops strategies to strengthen capacities and capabilities based on assessment findings. Introduces new diagnostic technology as it becomes available. Develops training plans and ensures competent instructors to provide training for personnel at laboratories for which responsible.
Plans, oversees and coordinates cooperative agreements with the host government for activities in areas of laboratory diagnostics, including the establishment and maintenance of a national quality assurance system. Institutes Quality Assurance (QA) programs, including internal and external quality control standards. Works with host government to support accreditation process of laboratories that have been targeted for that process.
Develops standards to enhance capacities of regional and referral hospital laboratories and to support surveillance for HIV, STD, TB, and malaria. Standardizes testing protocols for diagnostics and surveillance. Develops and updates national guidelines for laboratory systems at all levels of operation. Designs safety and anti-contamination strategies according to international standards.
Independently plans, summarize in reports on laboratory assessments and operational research studies for presentations at national and international meetings on HIV/AIDS prevention/care. Translates and verifies translations of protocols and other documents from and to English and host country language. Assists in standardization of lab equipment and maintenance assistance and provides technical specifications for procurement of essential laboratory equipment and supplies. Provides technical assistance on the architectural, structural, security and biohazard design aspects of on-going work related to laboratory renovation and establishment of new laboratories. Ensures proper budgeting of all national referral and regional laboratory activities supported by PEPFAR. Ensures validity of data and authorizes entry in appropriate data base.
Serves as activity manager and main point of contact for Laboratory Branch cooperative agreements and contracts. Oversees performance of partners/contractors, reviews progress, identifies potential issues and informs supervisor, recommending actions for amelioration. Facilitates procurement of equipment and supplies through CDC channels to enhance laboratories operating within the host country. Provides guidance to laboratories requisitioning equipment and supplies on the international market. Works with host country to develop forecasting capacity for laboratory commodities.

II. Management

Maintains effective liaisons with program officers and partner staff to ensure that partners meet monitoring requirements for supported cooperative agreement activities (e.g., quarterly reports, continuation applications, and supplemental applications). Reviews cooperative agreement narrative and financial reports to assess progress in meeting stated objectives and the status of expenditures in relation to planned budgets.
Conducts site visits to assess progress of partner organizations in meeting program objectives. Analyzes and evaluates program activities and writes reports and abstracts on findings for presentation at national and international conferences and meetings. Provides guidance and technical assistance to partners in analyzing and evaluating program activities and developing reports and presentations for conferences and meetings.

III. Interagency Coordination

As in-country expert on matters pertaining to testing and operations of a variety of laboratories located within Tanzania, job holder represents CDC/Tanzania at technical, policy and strategic planning meetings, including meetings with collaborators and donor agencies. Briefs agency officials on the results of such meetings and prepares written reports for submission to other interest parties.

Represents the agency in discussing and developing financial commitment proposals for laboratory programs at administrative and strategic planning meetings. This includes all USG PEPFAR implementing agencies (Departments of State, Defence, Health and Human Services, USAID, and Peace Corps).

Participates in internal and interagency technical working groups to ensure adherence to internationally accepted/directed standards for laboratories within the host country.

Note: Incumbent will be required to perform other duties as assigned by the agency.

All applicants must address each selection criterion detailed below with specific and comprehensive information supporting each item.

Bachelor’s level degree in Applied Biology (Molecular Biology), Medical Laboratory Technology or related science (medicine, biology, microbiology or chemistry) is required.

Completion of additional post graduate training in medical laboratory technology (minimum 6 months), specifically Molecular Biology and Quality Assurance Laboratory Testing Standards is required.

A minimum of five years working in a laboratory setting, either HIV/AIDS health care, national reference or laboratory, or research-oriented facility is required. Three additional years of supervisory /managerial experience is required.

Level IV (fluent) in English and Kiswahili (speaking, writing and reading) is required. (This will be tested)
Skills and Abilities:
Strong oral and written communications skills are required. Ability to analyze, understand and discuss program design, management and implementation approaches is required. This includes the development of evaluation designs, use of reliable and valid instruments, and methods for data collection, analysis and reports. Ability to lead project teams and workgroups and to develop effective working relationships with national and international working partners is required.

The incumbent will be expected to exercise considerable ingenuity and tact in applying guidelines to unique and different settings, as the work is highly complex and can be threatening to stakeholders. Considerable innovation will be required to influence other collaborative organizations engaged in laboratory programs to adopt appropriate strategies for their program activities and to work with partners on national strategic planning for laboratory programs is required.

Intermediate user level of word processing, spreadsheets and databases is required. Advanced knowledge of statistics and data analysis is required. (This will be tested)

Job Knowledge:
Comprehensive knowledge and experience in advanced laboratory techniques is required including comprehensive knowledge of procedures for laboratory diagnostics and associated technologies. Thorough public health knowledge of current HIV/AIDS, as well as opportunistic infections issues is required. Good working knowledge of the principles of laboratory management including strategic planning, personnel, forecasting and management of procurement, supplies and equipment is required.

Comprehensive knowledge of the host government laboratory facilities, health care system and structures including familiarity with MOH policies, program priorities and regulations is required. Good working knowledge of USG public health programs, strategies, methods, processes and techniques used to plan, develop, implement and evaluate results is required.

Good working knowledge of team management techniques to plan, organize and direct multi-disciplinary project teams and activities and overall administrative requirements, budgeting and fiscal management in support of contracts/cooperative agreements/grants/purchase requisitions is required.

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