A. Position Summary
BMZ-funded, ILRI-led BuildUganda Program
Veterinary Epidemiologist- PPR and RVF Control
Field based roving assignments – Uganda
Expected Start Date
1st October 2019
Project Technical Manager/ Country Representative
B. Brief Overview of VSF Germany
VSF Germany is an International Non-Governmental Organization, providing humanitarian aid and development assistance to pastoralists and vulnerable communities in areas where livestock is of importance. In the Horn of Africa region, VSF Germany has been implementing programmes in South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia since 1998. Effective from January 2019, VSF Germany has expanded its programme scope to Uganda. VSF Germany programmes focus on Food Security and Livelihoods, Nutrition, Natural Resources Management, Peacebuilding, Water and Sanitation, Protection and response to Disasters and Emergencies. Each country program is managed through the country offices and country teams. Country programmes are coordinated and facilitated from the Regional Office Nairobi (RON). The organization is a registered charity in Germany with its headquarters in Berlin.
C. Brief Overview of the Project
VSF Germnay is a member of a consortium led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) that has received funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and (BMZ) to implement a five year Research for Development program in Uganda, for improving animal and human health. Uganda is chosen as a key focus country in the sub-Saharan Africa on the account that around 70% of all households keep at least one kind of livestock (inclusive of poultry). Livestock production is however limited by pathogens including parasites that cause losses due to diseases or death of animals, threatening food security, balanced diets as well as the livelihoods of animal keepers. Pest des Petits Ruminants (PPR) is particularly endemic in Uganda since the first outbreak was reported in 2007. Zoonotic diseases such as Rift Valley Fever (RVF) not only threaten the health of producers but also processors and consumers, and limit productivity at the same time. Widespread use of antimicrobials to manage animal health conditions and poor hygiene and safety of animal sourced foods also pose a threat to human health due to Antimicrobial Resistance.
The goal of the program “Boosting Uganda’s Investments in Livestock Development” (Build Uganda) is therefore to improve the health of food producing animals and as a consequence, improve the health of those people who work in the production and processing of animal sourced food. The program will be implemented under four different components in line with, and as per the recommendations of the OIE GAP analysis of the performance of veterinary services in Uganda. This will form the basis of a holistic approach to improve animal health and includes: support ongoing campaigns to eradicate transboundary disease (e.g., pest des petits ruminants, PPR), control of zoonotic diseases (e.g., Rift Valley fever, RVF), control of antimicrobial resistance (AMR); and improved Veterinary Public Health (e.g., food safety and occupational health).
Specific to RVF and PPR components, the specific objectives of the project will be to:
a) Develop a socio-economic framework to assess the impact of PPR and RVF interventions
a) Update the epidemiological status of PPR and RVF to improve the understanding of PPR and RVF epidemiology (genotyping, serology, surveillance and response, entomological studies and risk mapping, including journal publications;
b) Assess capacity development gaps in the implementation of the PPR and RVF control strategies to allow development of capacity building strategies of national institutions and service providers (contingency plans, decision support tools);
Key target beneficiaries will be women and men small ruminant livestock producers, private animal health service providers, students, training and policy institutions of the Government of Uganda, and livestock traders, butchers and meat vendors.
The program is being implemented by multiple partners playing different roles in research and development activities. These include ILRI as the Consortium lead, VSF Germany, the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF), the National Agricultural Research Organization in Uganda (NARO-NaLIRRI), the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), and the German Federal Research Institute for Animal Health (FLI), among other local, regional and international partners and collaborators.
It is against this background that VSF Germany seeks to recruit an experienced veterinary epidemiologist with solid background on the epidemiology of infectious animal diseases and the control of transboundary animal diseases, PPR and RVF in particular, to spearhead the implementation of the PPR and RVF component of the project in the Western, Central and Northern regions of Uganda.
D. Reporting Lines and Collaboration
The epidemiologist reports and works under the technical, functional and administrative supervision of the Project Technical Manager / VSF G Country Representative and in collaboration with the ILRI Principal Investigators on the PPR, RVF, AMR and VPH components of the program, the designated component Focal Points of the Ministry of the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF), including the national and district veterinary services authorities, and in partnership with ILRI and other partners implementing the research components of the program.
E. Technical Focus
The epidemiologist shall provide direct technical support and guidance for capacity and training needs assessments, disease risk assessments including systems characterization and value chains mapping and analyses, planning and evaluation of epidemiological surveillance, contingency planning and simulation exercises and various epidemiology capacity development and multistakeholder engagement activities in target districts of Uganda.
F. Tasks and responsibilities
- Lead the process of community and other key stakeholders mobilization in the target regions and districts for sensitization and awareness creation on the project inception and implementation modalities;
- Lead the development and implementation of work plans relevant to the PPR and RVF Action Packages as designed by VSF Germany and project partners;
- Support the review of National PPR and RVF control strategy;
- Support field work for the consultancy to carry out a comprehensive review of the status of animal health services delivery;
- Plan and carry out Multistakeholder Platform engagements to assess the status of animal health services delivery and to discuss gaps and define new mechanisms for control and surveillance activities for PPR and RVF
- Support assessment of the status of PPR and RVF epidemiological surveillance capacities in target districts and develop, update and harmonize the strategies and plans, with the National Action Plans and provide technical support for their implementation in collaboration with MAAIF and other key stakeholders
- Support awareness creation of farmers and small ruminant meat vendors on risks associated with PPR and RVF outbreaks and options for control of the diseases
- Support post vaccination sampling in collaboration with the ILRI Principle Investigators
- Contribute to the technical design and implementation of PPR and RVF risk assessment in the context of farming systems, risk modeling, value chain studies, disease ecology and the livestock-wildlife-human interface and other related activities;
- Support early warning activities and provide relevant trainings to frontline veterinary service providers on the development of PPR and RVF contingency preparedness and response plans for the target districts and regions.
- Support spatial disease and risk factors analysis for spill-over and spread of the disease;
- Provide guidance and support to target districts on the use of mobile based applications for PPR and RVF surveillance data collection, analyses and sharing of results;
- In close collaboration with Crisis Management Centre- Animal Health (CMC-AH) coordinate and participate in emergency preparedness and rapid response planning and missions in the target districts of Uganda;
- Lead the planning and directly support field level Participatory Disease Surveillance (PDS) and Participatory Epidemiology (PE) for district veterinarians and technicians;
- Participate, when required, in the World Organization for Animal Health Tool for the Evaluation of Performance of Veterinary Services at various levels (regional & national);
- Prepare regular epidemiological updates and timely situation reports on PPR, RVF and other small ruminant diseases in target districts and regions in Uganda;
- Organize and lead in the facilitation of regular field level coordination meetings to share activity reports, including challenges, and discuss solutions found and lessons learned on other target districts and regions in Uganda;
- Lead in the preparation of PPR and RVF component periodic progress reports as required by the lead partners, government and the donors.
- Support the collection, storage, analysis and publication of data generated from field surveillance activities;
- Perform any other key activities in the districts relevant to the objectives of the project.
G. Essential Requirements
- Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary or biological sciences from a recognized University with at least 7 years of field practice and experience. Master’s Degree in Veterinary Epidemiology will be an added advantage.
- At least 5 years of proven experience in the management and implementation of infectious disease control programmes, preferably in developing countries, and particularly in Uganda, including the capability to collect tissue samples from small ruminants, (blood, harvest serum, meat sampling and meat inspection.
- Excellent working knowledge of English.
- Results Focus
- Effective Communication and focus in building Effective Relationships
- Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement
Technical/Functional Skills and Requirements
- Practical hands on work experience and knowledge of the target districts and regions.
- Ability to write briefs and concise reports
- Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines
- Familiarity with Uganda national livestock sector policies and strategies.
· Selection will be based on requirements, competencies and skills outlined above.
· VSF Germany is an equal opportunity employer but female candidates are strong encouraged to apply.
H. Remuneration and Benefits Package
Successful candidates with be offered competitive remuneration in local currency and accompanying staff benefits in line with local labour market rates and organizational policies.
A. Application procedure
Interested and qualified candidates who meets the requirements should send their applications with the subject line “Veterinary Epidemiologist – RVF and PPR Control” to the e-mail address: email@example.com and copied to firstname.lastname@example.org on or before close of business on the 23rd of August 2019 which is the closing date for receiving applications. The application documents should include the following, all in one document:
- Cover letter for application (max 1 page)
- Updated CV of not more than 3 pages and with at least 3 professional referees.
3. Summary table of educational background, work experience, skill and competence (max 1 page)