Health System Strengthening (HSS) Specialist, Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) - See more at:

The Commonwealth Secretariat, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme ManagementTraining and Capacity Building
Preferred Experience: 
3 to 10 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
11th May, 2015

Job Description

Scope of Work

The Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation will provide one long-term Health System Specialist for one year (with possibility of flexible in and out of country delivery over 18 months) and with possibility of extending, subject to satisfactory performance and mutual agreement. The intended outputs of the intervention will be:

  • Work closely with the Directorate of Disease Prevention and Control to develop outbreak containment strategies, including frameworks and tools for early warning system, to prevent infectious diseases from spreading rapidly.
  • Support effective operational integration of disease control efforts based on the surveillance data
  • Support the design and provision of IDSR training that is designed to improve the capacities of the health system at national, district and health facility levels.
  • Support initiation and guide outbreak investigations promptly following Standard Operating Procedures.
  • Work with relevant institutions (including consultation with international bodies such as WHO and CDC) to develop training material and support management and supervision of such trainings.
  • Supports the continuous and reliable identification of both common and newly detected infectious diseases to enable prioritization of interventions for a stronger health system.
  • Assess the staffing needs at the lower levels for IDSR, mentor and coach district rapid response teams, so they are able to identify and respond appropriately to suspected disease outbreaks.
  • Support district health management team to provide on-the-job IDSR training for selected health care workers in each district.
  • Expand training on IDSR to port-of-entry health teams so they can detect, report and control diseases, and to initiate response measures.
  • Make recommendations on the resource needs for establishing an emergency desk within MOHS, its location and scope of work.
  • Establish and maintain close ties with the Office on National Security (ONS) in the office of the President.
  • Support accelerated implementation of planned strategies to strengthen the country's emergency preparedness in the health sector.
  • Strengthen laboratories for timely diagnosis of epidemic prone diseases.
  • Explore the use of mobile technology to report surveillance data and make feasible recommendations, in particular the incorporation of such data to the DHIS2.
  • Ensure linkages from community, health facility, district to the national level.
  • Establish a mechanism for feedback to the centres that reports suspected outbreaks.
  • Analyse and use surveillance data to develop scientifically sound conclusions which can be basis for policy


  • Post-graduate qualification in Epidemiology
  • Degree in Public Health or similar areas


  • 8-10 years of progressively responsible professional experience in disease surveillance and information.
  • Experience in implementing IDSR in African settings.
  • Experience in building strong partnerships with various institutions and stakeholders.
  • Experience in health and development sector in disease surveillance and epidemiology.
  • Broad knowledge and understanding of disease surveillance system, epidemiology and public health practice.

Skills and expertise:

  • Strong project management skills and creativity.
  • Demonstrated use of evidence-based approaches in designing programmes.
  • Knowledge & Experience in Computer Applications
  • Excellent facilitation (and presentation) skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to build effective relations with counterparts in both public and private sectors.
  • Ability to influence others.
  • Fluency in English with good verbal and written skills.
  • Ability to write high quality reports, strategic and briefing documents

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