01 Jun 18 06 Jun 18

Epidemiology Advisor

Job Title: Epidemiology Advisor

Department: Manson Unit, MSF UK, or Public Health Unit Amsterdam, MSF Holland

Hours: 40 hours per week

Reports to: OCA Epidemiology & Public Health Intelligence Team Lead

Responsible for: Operational epidemiological support and epidemiological topic area (ideally health systems epidemiology)

Close working links with: Field Epidemiologists; other members of the HQ Epidemiology-Public Health Intelligence team; Health Advisers and other Specialists in MSF-OCA

Location: London (UK) or Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

Duration: Permanent

Salary Grade: 5.1

Deadline: 4 July 2018


Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) provides life-saving emergency relief and longer-term medical care to some of the most vulnerable and excluded communities around the world. As an independent medical humanitarian organisation, we deliver care based only on need, regardless of ethnic origin, gender, religion or political affiliation.

MSF relies on donations from private individuals and organisations for the majority of its income. This private funding gives MSF the freedom to respond where needs are greatest and to speak out publicly, free from any political interference.

MSF has around 40,000 local and international staff working in over 70 countries, in some of the most challenging places in the world. Our medical humanitarian projects are supported by teams in 32 countries, including the UK, spread across Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

At MSF UK, we support MSF’s operations by building relationships with our supporters, increasing awareness of our work, raising funds, providing specialist medical expertise, catalysing change on medical humanitarian issues, and recruiting field staff. MSF UK personnel are dynamic, hard-working, enthusiastic and committed to MSF’s values and aims. 

The Manson Unit

The MU is a multi-disciplinary medical team within MSF UK, and is part of MSF OCA’s Public Health Department (PHD).  We aim to improve the quality of MSF’s medical programmes worldwide, so the best possible care is delivered to our patients. It s focus is on complex medical issues, using health intelligence, research and medical innovation. Our goal is to catalyse change through demonstrating effective new approaches and models of care, and linking in with international advocacy and global health actors.

The MU is a team of c35 comprised of medical doctors and specialists in infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, health information systems, epidemiology, geographical information systems, medical editing and research communication. We also have a clinical trial team working towards improved treatments for patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis. We provide direct support to our field programmes through specialist advice on medical issues, implementing new ways of working, supporting research studies and outbreak response.

UK health expertise

Our base in the UK allows us to foster collaborations with a diverse range of institutions and to advocate for funding, research and political attention for neglected medical issues. Our academic partnerships with institutions such as the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and Imperial College brings external expertise to bear on some of the more complex medical issues experienced by crisis affected populations. 

About the OCA’s PHD Department

The PHD is responsible for OCA’s medical strategy and delivery of care through medical leadership, the development of medical policies and norms, medical innovation and direct field support. The department acts as a counterpart to the Operations Department and in tandem, is responsible for the implementation OCA’s social mission.  It operates over three locations: Amsterdam, Berlin and London.  It strives to set the example and demonstrate the practical implementation of the vision and philosophy of the OCA partnership – each partner will bring their unique contributions and strengths and assume joint responsibility for OCA’s social mission.

It is currently made up of:

  • Amsterdam Unit (a team of 35) and two Health Advisors and a medical Operational Manager in Berlin.  Primarily focuses on direct medical operational management and specialist medical strategic and technical support across a wide range of core topic areas.
  • Manson Unit in the London office (which includes two staff members in Berlin)
  • Potentially in the future, there may be contributions from other OCA offices, such as the Berlin Medical Unit and/or Delhi. 

Each unit plays a key role in the development and implementation of the OCA medical strategy through cleardelegation of responsibilities and functions.

The MSF-OCA Epidemiology & Public Health Intelligence Team

The Epidemiology and Public Health Intelligence (EPHI) team is a multidisciplinary cross-location team (including an epidemiologist in the Amsterdam office) consisting of epidemiologists, public health specialists, and GIS and eHealth specialists. The vision of this team is for field and HQ to be able to make evidence-based, data-driven decisions on medical and public health activity.  This is achieved through:

  • Effective and relevant data gathering in surveillance systems, the Health information system (HIS), health assessments and surveys, operational research, and outbreak investigation and response
  • Supported analysis and interpretation of this data
  • An operating model based on strong field epidemiology, GIS and public health capacity with ready access to expert support at HQ.
  • Innovation in technology, data visualisation, survey methodology and operational research to enhance these activities.


MSF-OCA epidemiologists support health surveillance and data management, provide rapid response to disease outbreaks and emergencies and facilitate field-based surveys and support operational research. This epidemiological capacity is required to strengthen routine data collection and analysis and improve evidence-based decision-making, including operational research in our field projects.

While most of an MSF-OCA epidemiologist’s time is spent undertaking such field support, each member of the epidemiology team also holds specific areas of specialisation. This post holder will have proven experience in humanitarian support and outbreak response, and knowledge and skills in health systems epidemiology, with a focus on health care quality and health information systems.


  1. Support the MSF-OCA Strategic Plan in terms of epidemiological activities, including support for MSF-OCA operational research activities.
  2. Implement the MSF-OCA EPHI team’s vision and strategy, in collaboration with other members of this team.
  3. Improve data management and data-driven decision-making in MSF-OCA by:
  4. supporting all missions to manage, analyse and gain timely feedback from the HIS and other programmatic data collection systems linked to surveillance and medical response activities;
  5. developing data literacy in field and HQ staff through routine support and through trainings.
  6. Support evidence-based decision-making in MSF-OCA by utilising peer-reviewed research and academic links to inform epidemiological work and advise colleagues in the field and at HQ; utilising external resources and novel technological tools; and disseminating field-relevant operational research.
  7. Provide epidemiological expertise to support or directly implement cross-sectional surveys and community-based assessments in the field projects.
  8. Provide epidemiological expertise to improve outbreak detection, investigation and response, through supporting the development and maintenance of surveillance systems (e.g. health facility based, community based, media and social media monitoring) and outbreak investigation, utilising relevant tools and technologies. This is performed through direct activities in the field, support of field-based epidemiologists or remote support.
  9. Provide additional epidemiological capacity for emergencies in the field when required.
  10. Provide expertise in a specific epidemiological topic, ideally health systems epidemiology (in areas such as healthcare quality monitoring, health information systems, healthcare utilisation, health economics).
  11. Support the quality of epidemiological interventions in programs within a portfolio of missions by providing timely and robust advice to the Health Adviser, Medical Coordinator and other Specialist Advisors through the Medical Support Team system.
  12. Provide support and mentoring for field epidemiologists, and field visits to coach and advise field staff on epidemiological activities
  13. Give expert advice and technical support to colleagues in the department (Health Advisors and relevant Specialists) and to other departments (e.g. Operations and Humanitarian Affairs) on inter-disciplinary issues regarding epidemiology to enhance the quality of programmes.
  14. Develop and facilitate training in epidemiology for (field) staff through internal and intersectional courses and remote and field-based coaching and ensure knowledge transfer on new material.
  15. Build and maintain links within MSF and with other relevant institutions (e.g. KIT, LSHTM) and external specialists to form collaborations, to cooperate and exchange knowledge, to build networks and to represent MSF in the wider academic and public health community.

Please note that this list is indicative of the key responsibilities of this role but is by no means exhaustive. MSF is an emergency organisation and a ‘Can do’ attitude and flexibility to take on other related tasks is essential. This job description does not form part of the contract of employment.


Essential skills/ experience:

  • Biomedical background.
  • Masters in Epidemiology or Public health (with strong epidemiology modules).
  • Skills and proven experience in medical data management and analysis.
  • Experience and skill in designing, implementing and analysing surveillance systems.
  • Demonstrable ability and experience in field epidemiology (cross-sectional studies and surveys) and the process of designing and implementing epidemiological studies.
  • Skills and proven experience in supporting the use of data in decision-making, and developing data literacy in others.
  • Computer literate with demonstrable ability and experience using epi and health information system software such as R, STATA, Excel, Epi-info or Epi-data, DHIS2.
  • Previous proven experience in report-writing and publication of epidemiological research studies and surveys.
  • Thorough understanding around ethical issues in research, particularly in humanitarian settings.
  • Solid interpersonal skills with willingness and ability to communicate effectively with senior operational management, national authorities and other international organisations.
  • International field experience with MSF or similar NGO.
  • Commitment to the aims and values of MSF.
  • Fluent in written and spoken English.
  • Willing to spend up to one third of time in the field, in humanitarian settings, including insecure areas, outbreaks and emergencies.

Desirable criteria:

  • Experience and skill in health systems epidemiology (in areas such as healthcare quality monitoring, health information systems, healthcare utilisation, and/or health economics).
  • Experience with mapping/GIS techniques, dashboard development, and use of mobile data collection.
  • Medical qualification/ background.
  • Field Epidemiology Training Programme experience.
  • Other languages (especially French or Arabic).

Candidates must hold an appropriate passport or permit to work in the UK or The Netherlands.



Deadline: 4 July 2018

Please note – only applications sent to the above email address will be accepted. The email subject should read ‘Epidemiology Advisor application’

For further information about MSF UK, our application and recruitment process, as well as information on benefits and terms and conditions, please visit our website here: http://www.msf.org.uk/uk-jobs  

Application checklist

Please check that you have included the following in your application:

  • an up-to-date CV
  • Letter of Motivation, which is a supporting statement demonstrating how you meet the key requirements of the role