The GH-TAMS project s seeking candidates for a remote assignment providing short-term consultancy services to the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The assignment’s purpose is to lead a learning exercise that will identify current gaps and challenges to infectious disease and pandemic readiness and response capacity particularly in the areas of coordination and leadership, operational capacity, and technical competency.
Level of effort is anticipated at 28 days (over a period of three and a half months) and will begin on or around April 19, 2021.
Infectious disease outbreaks have always occupied a critical space in public health, requiring dedicated levels of effort towards controlling disease spread and minimizing population health impact. However, epidemic-fueled public health emergencies have gained greater international focus in recent years. Inadequate responses to large scale crises like the 2014 West Africa Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak and increasing effects of globalization have exponentially increased the potential impact of both known and unknown pathogens in limited-resource settings. Traditional efforts to stop disease transmission have proven continuously less effective, as evidenced by the recent large-scale responses to Zika and influenza, localized responses to diphtheria and yellow fever, and EVD outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Guinea. When these large-scale outbreaks happen in humanitarian settings, the challenges become even greater, as conflict, scarce resources, lack of a functioning health system, and humanitarian principles hinder operations and response. These challenges have demonstrated a clear necessity to improve and strengthen strategies to address infectious disease outbreaks, particularly in these complicated settings. Given the complexity and situationally specific nuances of these scenarios, the integrated humanitarian network must have the capacity to better prepare and react appropriately and effectively to outbreaks.
In response to this need, the United States Agency for International Development/ Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance launched the Infectious Disease and Pandemics (IDAP) initiative (2018 – 2022), a cross-office initiative established among technical, operational and policy/engagement offices to improve the readiness of BHA and BHA partners to deliver efficient and effective response to large-scale infectious disease outbreaks that become humanitarian emergencies. This initiative includes four external projects/partnerships:
1. READY Initiative: A three-year global capacity building award with a Save the Children-led consortium to improve coordination and the operational and technical readiness of partners for improved response to major infectious disease outbreaks. READY leverages expertise and best practices across the consortium to strengthen capacity for response to major infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics.
2. WHO: Strengthen preparedness and rapid response capacity for viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks in DRC, updating global guidance and tools.
3. UNICEF: Improve global capacity and foster partnerships that leverage social science for community engagement to respond adaptively, rapidly, and accurately in humanitarian emergencies.
4. IRC: Through collaboration with the protection sector, develop an integrated health and protection toolkit to be used in outbreak responses in humanitarian settings.
Much has changed in the past few years as the global community has incorporated lessons learned from past outbreak responses and the ongoing COVID-19 response. In this new context, BHA seeks to better understand current gaps and challenges in the readiness of the humanitarian community to deliver efficient and effective responses to large-scale infectious disease outbreaks that become humanitarian emergencies. In particular, BHA hopes to identify and understand the multi-sectoral gaps in essential capacity needed by response implementers to establish and maintain operational and technical readiness to ensure rapid response to infectious diseases outbreaks with epidemic potential (e.g., viral hemorrhagic fevers including Ebola Virus Disease, Marburg Virus Disease, etc.) that may reach the scale of a humanitarian emergency, or outbreaks with pandemic potential (e.g., influenzas, diseases/syndromes caused by coronaviruses).
Role and Responsibilities
BHA seeks a consultant to lead a learning exercise that will identify current gaps and challenges to readiness and response capacity particularly in the areas of coordination and leadership, operational capacity, and technical competency. Key activities will include the following:
● In collaboration with BHA, identify relevant organizations and associated points of contacts with appropriate awareness of related activities/programming. Sample should include a blend of technical agencies, educational and research institutions, donors, implementing agencies, and coordinating bodies.
● Conduct semi-structured interviews with the identified points of contact at each organization. Discuss key challenges and gaps in terms of global leadership and coordination of response efforts, operational capacity and technical competencies and knowledge management. Explore experience with the READY Initiative and other initiatives dedicated to increasing preparedness and response capacity.
● Analyze results and share findings in a final report. Report should include recommendations based on identified challenges and gaps.
● Present findings to internal US Government (USG) stakeholders, including representatives of BHA and the interagency.
Final product will be for internal USG only. This report will not be published, and consultant should sign both a NDA and COI.
● At least eight years of experience in humanitarian assistance
● Related experience or academic training in humanitarian public health. MPH preferred.
● Familiarity with current global outbreak response architecture and experience working in humanitarian settings.
● Experience leading similar learning exercises, including conducting key informant interviews, analyzing qualitative data, drafting reports, and presenting findings.
About the Organization
The Global Health Technical Assistance and Mission Support Project (GH-TAMS) is a five-year USAID-funded activity providing the Bureau for Global Health (GH) and USAID field missions with high quality technical expertise to achieve the Agency's foreign assistance global health mission. With start-up in the fall of 2019, GH-TAMS follows the success of the Global Health Program Cycle Improvement Project (GH Pro).
GH-TAMS technical assistance covers a broad range of technical areas and cross-cutting issues such as HIV/AIDS. family planning, MNCH, infectious disease, TB, health finance, reproductive health, organizational development, OVC, project design, facilitation, M&E and strategic planning.
Project assignments are located in Washington D.C. and worldwide in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. Assignments typically range from two weeks to six months in duration.