Overview: The Diagnostics Specialist (DS) will support the diagnostics systems capacity building work for the USAID Infectious Diseases Detection and Surveillance (IDDS) project that serves the Global Health Security Agenda, TB programs and other related initiatives. IDDS supports select governments and their relevant ministries in the strengthening of their human and animal health diagnostic systems for infectious diseases, TB and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The IDDS project has three key objectives:
Improve the detection of diseases of public health importance and identification of AMR through an accessible, accurate, adaptable, timely and integrated diagnostic network
Improve the quality of real-time surveillance systems for pathogens of greatest public health concern, including AMR and zoonotic diseases
Generate evidence-based guidance and innovative solutions to strengthen in-country diagnostics and surveillance systems
The work will focus primarily on public health systems but may also include private health and other non-governmental diagnostic facilities (laboratories and point-of-care facilities). The position will be based in Addis Ababa and will involve frequent in-country travel. Technical responsibilities include working with the IDDS diagnostics global and regional leadership, in-country partners, ICF (project prime) and USAID to implement agreed strategies to enhance diagnostic networks (both human and animal health and point-of-care facilities) in Ethiopia as well as the broader surveillance systems.
- Responsible for the implementation of technical assistance, diagnostic network and facilities strengthening and quality improvement interventions in line with joint external evaluation (JEE) reports, country national action plan, other assessment reports and country workplan activities aligned with JEE and local stakeholder improvement goals.
- Responsible for implementing in-country diagnostic network enhancement activities which may include capacity building activities for core diagnostic components such as specimen referral mechanisms, quality management systems, supply chain, management information systems, diagnostic SOPs and tools, qualified workforce, expansion of point-of-care diagnostic service points, and biosafety and biosecurity.
- Closely work with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) to support other national stakeholders in developing or updating national diagnostic network strategic plans, SOPs and policies.
- Monitors and reports progress with diagnostic network enhancement activities as per the approved country workplan.
- Provides technical support based upon expertise with diagnostics system strengthening, methods and strategies, current best practices, and established diagnostic and operational standards while also being locally relevant and sustainable.
- Builds capacity in local diagnostic stakeholders and leaders to identify and oversee enhancements in diagnostic networks.
- Conducts assessments of diagnostic facilities and leads the follow-up of corrective and preventive actions and quality improvement initiatives.
- Provides technical assistance and training to diagnostic facilities and the overall diagnostic network as part of overall capacity building and continuous improvement programs.
- Encourages and assists laboratories with preparing for accreditation through locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally accepted accreditation agencies based on country demand.
- Will be required to coordinate and work with a diverse group of national organizations including the Government, EPHI, and other diagnostic network leaders, development partners, other regional and global IDDS staff and USAID.
Applied Knowledge & Skills:
- Sound knowledge and experience in clinical diagnostics (on-the-bench experience), diagnostic networks and quality management systems.
- In-depth knowledge of the diagnostics for infectious diseases (including TB) and anti-microbial resistance (AMR).
- Awareness of the mechanisms and strategies that are being deployed under the Global Health Security Agenda and other similar mechanisms to combat emerging infectious threats and AMR
- General understanding of the country environment and how it affects diagnostics network functioning.
- Strong problem-solving skills.
- A minimum of a BSc in clinical diagnostics or an equivalent with a specialty in microbiology.
- At least five years of experience in diagnostic strengthening and capacity building in the country.
- Knowledge and experience in the diagnosis of infectious diseases (including TB) and AMR including specific hands-on diagnostics experience.
- Competent in current diagnostic methods for infectious diseases including point-of-care tests.
- Knowledge and experience with strengthening laboratories to achieve international quality standards including against ISO 15189 and/or SLMTA/SLIPTA.