Laboratory Technical Advisor- El Salvador

  • Short-term contract assignment
  • Posted on 7 July 2020

Job Description

Project Overview and Role:

Palladium implements the USAID-funded Health Policy Plus (HP+) Project. HP+ strengthens health systems through evidence-informed policies, sustainable health financing, improved governance, and leadership and advocacy toward Sustainable Development Goals. The project aims to improve the enabling environment for equitable and sustainable health services, supplies, and delivery systems. Its efforts emphasize voluntary, rights-based health programs, and strengthening in-country partners’ capacity in policy, advocacy, governance, and finance. To date, HP+ has worked in 46 countries, helped mobilize US$1 billion in additional investments in health services, collaborated with more than 1,140 partner organizations, and contributed to the development, adoption, or strengthening of more than 115 policies, operational strategies, and legal and regulatory frameworks.

Supporting the COVID-19 Response

The emergence of the COVID-19 global pandemic has posed new challenges to already strained health systems worldwide. With USAID’s support, the HP+ project is undertaking efforts worldwide to help governments and other actors respond effectively to COVID-19. In many countries, laboratory capacity for efficient, scaled testing has been limited, resulting in significant delays in case identification and management. As many health systems accelerate their efforts to respond to COVID-19, more support is needed to strengthen the capacity to collect high-quality specimens; devise an efficient system of transport; identify and source equipment and supplies; conduct rapid and accurate specimen testing; manage data, and report results to local and national emergency operation centers, as well as to providers and patients.

Assignment Overview
HP+ is seeking an experienced laboratory technical advisor to support regional and country-specific efforts to improve laboratory capacity to enhance and scale-up diagnostic and antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2 (for specific location, please see Duty Station below). This technical advisor would be part of a team working closely with stakeholders in government, USAID, and other areas to identify critical needs and HP+ actions. As is appropriate, the technical advisor will also help with capacity strengthening efforts that could include training on laboratory diagnostic methods, and laboratory safety measures, assessing potential diagnostics for use, recommending procurement for key equipment, supporting inventory control procedures and designing quality control procedures.


HP+ is looking for an in-country laboratory expert to provide technical assistance, training and laboratory capacity assessments to labs in El Salvador, which are pivotal to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 response. The following responsibilities are illustrative and not exhaustive. Initial responsibilities will include the following types of activities:

  • Provide training on laboratory techniques and procedures including but not limited to qRT-PCR, lab safety, sample management, and inventory control.
  • Participate in consultative meetings with HP+ personnel to discuss key needs and actions for HP+ support in laboratory capacity-building.
  • Help assess workflow processes for specimen collection, transport, processing, and result reporting to determine areas vulnerable to breakdown and in need of further support. In conjunction with the MOH and other stakeholders at the national and subnational levels, advise on and/or review action plans to address deficiencies.
  • Provide guidance on assessment approaches for gauging human resource and infrastructure needs to support specimen collection, transport, processing, analysis, dissemination of results, and reporting to the local and national Emergency Operations Centers.
  • Support training on accurate specimen collection and processing before and during transport to laboratories for processing.
  • Develop and review the process diagrams or algorithms for processing SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 and other molecular testing.
  • Provide capacity strengthening in biosafety and quality control.
  • Develop and/or advise on online peer learning and exchange approaches for stakeholders in El Salvador, Honduras, and possibly Guatemala.
  • The candidate should be able to rapidly shift focus to address the needs as they arise.

Education and experience required or preferred

  • Bachelor’s or advanced degree (preferred) in Public Health, Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, or other relevant field.
  • Laboratory experience with infectious disease detection protocols, writing standard operating procedures, and experience with maintaining test material inventories and conducting training on laboratory testing procedures (preferred)
  • 5+ years of experience in research, laboratory management, or capacity strengthening in Latin America or other low-resource settings.
  • Experience working in Latin America.
  • Fluency or proficiency in Spanish and in English.
  • Current residency in El Salvador is preferred. For outside candidates, employment is conditional upon Palladium’s ability to arrange permission and means of transportation into the country. For this reason, outside candidates from El Salvador,
  • Nicaragua and Guatemala are ideal.
  • Candidates should expect to remain in El Salvador for the duration of the contract. Travel within country will be required, as allowable under COVID-related restrictions.

Position Details

  • This position is temporary and full time. There is potential need to work some weekend and evening hours.


  • 85 days (contract extension contingent on needs and available funding).

Duty Station:

  • El Salvador
  • Location within country is to be determined.

Selection Criteria:

  • Relevant Education - 30% weighting
  • Relevant Experience - 60% weighting
  • Cost - 10% weighting

Submission Details:

  • To submit your application, please email the following documentation to
  • Resume
  • Proof of Education
  • Desired daily rate

About the Organization

Palladium develops and delivers solutions that create positive impact for communities, businesses, societies and economies. We transform lives and create enduring value by working with governments, corporations and non-profit organisations.

Palladium is built on the idea that progress will be supported by four key pillars: • International Development • Strategy Execution Consulting • Impact Investment • Training and Events We create positive impact through more than 100 current projects with more than 2000 employees operating in over 90 countries.

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