The Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) is a global Cooperative Agreement funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) aimed at introducing and supporting high-impact health interventions. This global program focuses on 24 high-priority countries, including Nigeria, with the ultimate goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths within a generation. MCSP country programs strive to ensure that all women, newborns and children have equitable access to the quality health care services that save lives.
Awarded in spring 2014, MCSP supports programming in maternal, newborn and child health, immunization, family planning and reproductive health, nutrition, health systems strengthening, water/sanitation/hygiene, malaria, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and pediatric HIV care and treatment. The program engages governments, policymakers, private sector leaders, health care providers, civil society, faith-based organizations and communities in addressing the major causes of maternal, newborn and child mortality and improving the quality of health services from household to hospital. Health systems strengthening, household and community mobilization, gender integration and eHealth are cross-cutting themes and areas of the program’s work.
In Nigeria, and in close partnership with the Bauchi and Sokoto state governments and public and private partners, MCSP has launched a technical assistance initiative aimed at strengthening the routine immunization (RI) system to increase and sustain RI coverage and reduce childhood illness and death. USAID’s MCSP will bring new thinking and a prioritized approach to support state commitment to significantly and sustainably increase coverage.
John Snow, Inc. (JSI) is leading this technical assistance, drawing from more than 25 years of experience in over 40 developing and transitional countries of building the technical capacity of ministries of health and other partners to raise RI coverage sustainably, improve quality, and reduce illness and death due to vaccine-preventable diseases. JSI has managed each of USAID’s global flagship immunization projects (including in Nigeria), such as REACH I/II, The Basic Support for Institutionalizing Child Survival (BASICS) IMMUNIZATIONbasics project, the Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), and now MCSP.
Under the supervision of MCSP’s Bauchi State Immunization Technical Advisor (SITA), the Community Partnerships Officer will be a member of MCSP’s core technical team providing program assistance to the Bauchi State Government for the implementation of a three and a half-year, State-led, multi-partner initiative to strengthen the RI system and significantly and sustainably increase immunization coverage.
The Community Partnerships Officer will work both with MCSP’s technical team and as an extension of the State’s technical team to support the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA) to implement a high-level, quadripartite, RI strengthening memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Bauchi State Government, Dangote Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and USAID. This will require intensive collaboration and coordination with numerous public and private partners. MCSP will also support the State in implementing the recently rolled out “Primary Health Care under One Roof” policy in the context of RI system strengthening. This program assistance will provide full geographic coverage of program assistance across all wards and Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Community partnership is one of the four priority technical areas (along with governance, ownership, and accountability; capacity building, including training; and supportive supervision, monitoring, and effective use of data for decision making) identified by the BSPHCDA, Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), and RI Working Group for MCSP’s support. The Community Partnerships Officer will catalyze and help maintain close collaboration and coordination with other MCSP technical staff and RI MOU implementing partners at the State, LGA, ward, health facility, and community levels to operationalize this technical assistance, including by complementing other operational components of Nigeria’s Reaching Every Ward (REW) approach, to support the State in improving access to and utilization of quality vaccines and vaccination services.
Seen as an extension of the State’s RI strengthening team, the Community Partnerships Officer will be expected to advocate for and foster intensive collaboration, creative thinking, and resource-efficient approaches to improving and expanding effective and cost-effective community linkages for the planning and delivery of RI services. This will include supporting collective efforts to identify early successes for RI to achieve rapid increases in coverage by the end of the program’s assistance, while ensuring a maintained focus on sustained and targeted investment; support the delivery of dependable, regular, high-quality immunization services; promote continued state ownership, financing and accountability for primary health care, including immunization; encourage a move away from unsuccessful polio-driven approaches to strengthening the RI system; ensure the RI system’s readiness to support the introduction of new vaccines; and, where appropriate, pilot and/or scale up new incentives and disincentives that stimulate improved RI performance.
Roles and responsibilities
In close collaboration and consultation with State and other RI partners, the key responsibilities of the Community Partnership Officer will include but not be limited to:
Coordinating and working closely with the BSPHCDA and other RI partners on a daily basis to help ensure effective implementation of Buachi’s quadripartite RI MOU, with a focus on ensuring the timely, effective implementation of MCSP’s technical assistance
Providing targeted technical assistance and capacity building support at the LGA, health facility, ward, and/or community levels; priorities for the Community Partnerships Officer will include:
Exploring sustainable ways for health staff to partner with existing community structures and leaders to plan, implement, and monitor services from the bottom up, in order to increase community participation in RI service planning and delivery, and through examination of both supply- and demand-side issues
Pursuing opportunities to engage various traditional community actors and leaders to promote more cost-effective and innovative community linkages around RI
Supporting the State in developing a community partnership framework and plan for RI (and potentially other PHC services), in collaboration with other RI MOU partners such as UNICEF
Assessing, piloting, and/or scaling up strategies to track left outs and dropouts through increased community partnership; this will include developing newborn/defaulter tracking methods that link
with community-based human resources, and that are simple and scalable to all health facilities in all LGAs in Bauchi State
Strengthening the technical and organizational capacity of community-level actors, and of LGA- and health facility-level staff, to better leverage community resources and networks to improve demand for, access to, and the quality of RI services
Actively participating in meetings and activities convened by/through the State Task Force on Immunization (STFI), Bauchi State RI Working Group and sub-working groups, and Emergency Operations Center (EOC), including during review and planning exercises
Representing MCSP to the BSPHCDA, EOC, STFI, and/or other RI partners through active participation in State-level meetings, technical advisory groups, working groups, and other coordinating forums
Fostering and actively contributing to ongoing, informal and formal cross-learning efforts, particularly at the community level, in close collaboration with MCSP’s technical team, the State, USAID, and other partners at all operational levels, and across states as appropriate; Supporting the implementation, analysis, and documentation of operations research around RI programming as opportunities arise
Contributing to the development, adaptation, and dissemination of national guidelines and policies at the State and lower levels, as appropriate
Supporting RI- and PHC-related advocacy activities at the state level, using evidence-based data on community knowledge, attitudes, and practices around RI
Contributing to the development, monitoring, and reporting of program and Bauchi State RI Harmonized MOU indicators, and the improved use of data for decision making particularly between the community and health facility levels
Documenting meetings and share proceedings/minutes with other MCSP colleagues in country, and with other Bauchi RI partners as appropriate; promoting the transparent, timely, and consistent flow of information and communications both internally and externally
Contributing to USAID technical progress reports, workplans, and other technical documents as required; actively participating in and contributing to Bauchi State RI Harmonized MOU and MCSP annual workplan development and reviews
Participating in routine MCSP team, technical, and other meetings as appropriate
Health professional with at least a Bachelors degree in public health, community development or related field
At least five years field work experience in public (including government) and/or private organizations supporting the implementation of public health programs
Demonstrated knowledge of and experience implementing, promoting, and strengthening capacity around participatory, community-based approaches to increasing demand for, access to, and uptake of health services
Proven technical capacity in supporting the implementation and supervision of RI services in Nigeria, including support to LGAs and health facilities. Bauchi-specific experience and knowledge highly desirable
Dynamic and energetic team player, willing to “roll up one’s sleeves” to provide broad-ranging support and travel within Bauchi to provide hands-on capacity building support and engage community members directly as needed
Knowledge of national- and state-level policies, strategies, the programming landscape, and evidence relevant to community health programming, RI, and related health areas
Excellent written and verbal communication skills, and demonstrated ability and poise in partnering and communicating with diverse groups of stakeholders
Creative thinker, motivated to advocate for innovative approaches to strengthen RI, and motivated to encourage collaboration and healthy competition at operational levels
Demonstrated experience supporting the development and tracking of activity budgets
Strong computer literacy, including in Microsoft Office applications including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
Knowledge of statistics and data management applications an asset
Fluent in spoken and written English, and verbal proficiency in at least one local dialect (e.g., Hausa)
Previous work experience with USAID-funded programs a plus
Available for potential, occasional travel to Abuja if needed
Interested candidates should submit their CV and motivation letter to MCSPNigeriaHR@jsi.com by Friday, June 5, 2015.
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