Act to End Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) | East is a five-year project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that helps national NTD control programs for the control and elimination of five targeted NTDs: lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, and trachoma. RTI seeks a MERLA Program Advisor who will support the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOH)’s national neglected tropical disease (NTD) control program to ensure quality data collection, analysis, and reporting in Tanzania under the Act to End NTDs | East program. She/he will oversee the monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of program performance and results for the national program and assist in facilitating learning using those results. This role requires regular program data analysis and identifying areas for additional support. The MERLA Program Advisor will work under the direction of the National NTD Program Manager to identify how results will be used for program improvement through programmatic adaptation.
The successful candidate will have robust data analysis expertise, excellent data management skills, strong attention to detail, and comfort working with large amounts of data at the same time. They will also be adept at utilizing data and other information for learning and adapting program activities for continual improvement. This individual must be able to collaborate respectfully with multiple team members from diverse backgrounds.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Lead in the design and implementation of a M&E plan in line with the National NTD program framework.
- Lead the process of report writing for program activities and timely dissemination as required by MOH and other partners.
- Participate in the planning of MDA activities including the collection of data relevant for drug forecast.
- Participate in the planning and implementation of disease specific assessments, surveys, and surveillance activities.
- Under the direction of the National NTD Program Manager, participate in strategic planning of the NTD program with partners at the central, regional, and district government levels, NGOs, FBOs, and CBOs ensuring that M&E components are made part of the overall strategic plan.
- Contribute to budget development in-line with approved work plans and assist in the review of M&E components in the budget as needed.
- Work with local partners to integrate NTDs into the mainstream health care delivery systems at district levels, aligning the NTD M&E components to the Ministry of Health’s MTUHA system.
- Liaise closely with Council Health Management Teams (CHMT) as well as other relevant local partners for harmonized operations of M&E components in program activities.
- Facilitate the capacity building of partners at the district and local levels to collect and analyze data and prepare reports for both the CHMT and the NTD program.
Data collection, monitoring, and reporting
- Leads MERLA activities and ensures that all MERLA activities are implemented in accordance with approved work plan and budget.
- Review data reported from specific program activities (e.g., surveys, mass drug administration, training) to ensure data accuracy and completeness.
- During routine and ongoing data review, communicate any problems with data quality to the relevant program person to ensure accurate data collection and reporting.
- Complete routine project reporting tools and forms according to the program schedule (work planning, two semi-annual reporting periods, and additional as needed), collaborating with the NTD Technical Advisor and HQ-based MERLA staff.
- Provide accurate and timely responses to ad hoc data requests.
- Supervise various field activities to support high quality data collection and reporting, identifying any challenges and providing on-the-spot solutions.
- Survey development, implementation, and analysis
- Support the development of protocols and reports for disease-specific assessments, data analysis to inform action-oriented conclusions, and the application of learning.
- Lead the submission of survey outputs which include, but are not limited to, survey reports, raw survey data, and clean datasets.
- Support the development of protocols and reports for data quality activities, including but not limited to data quality assessments, treatment coverage evaluation surveys, and supervisors’ coverage tools.
- Liaise with the RTI-HQ electronic data capture team prior, during, and after surveys to finalize survey tools, track data capture, and review final data.
- Support disease specific assessment outcome evaluations.
Program learning and adaptation through data use
- Support country and HQ teams in ensuring coordination with MOH, CDC, HKI, and SCI on protocols for data collection and reporting, as well as survey design and implementation.
- Ensure country-level work plans and semi-annual reports appropriately incorporate the relevant data, including accurate and high-quality reporting and using data to inform strategy and activities.
- Analyze/use project MERLA data to identify trends/patterns/outliers (e.g., low-performing districts).
- Support stakeholders to regularly input information into and use the national data storage platform, such as the Integrated NTD Database, including using it to submit high quality data to WHO (including Joint Application Package [JAP], and elimination dossiers), etc.
- Provide technical assistance to MOHCDEC to facilitate high quality submission of JAP.
- Collaborate with country and HQ staff to identify opportunities for country learning and program adaptation, including operationalizing learning agenda action items.
- Support analysis of MERLA capacity strengthening needs within the program in Tanzania, synthesize learnings, and collaborate with country and HQ teams on a capacity strengthening strategy to promote learning and adaptation.
- Contribute to cross-program learning by sharing experiences and lessons learned by country and HQ staff.
- Provide technical assistance to the MOHCDEC to facilitate mainstreaming of MERLA activities, including but not limited to incorporating NTD indicators and reporting into the HMIS system, ensuring continued high-quality reporting of control diseases after elimination, post-validation surveillance, etc.
- Coordinate and facilitate periodic pause and reflect activities, including but not limited to after action reviews post mass drug administration and disease specific assessments, utilizing the Data for Action Guide, etc.
- Strengthen the capacity of the MOHCDEC to conduct MERLA activities and institutionalize the approaches for said MERLA activities.
- Identify opportunities for operational and programmatic research, provide inputs as needed for development of protocol, data collection, data analysis, and report writing, with guidance from country and HQ teams.
Minimum Required Education & Experience:
- Master’s degree in public health, epidemiology, bio-statistics, or other analytics field, plus 6 years of experience; or bachelor’s degree plus 9 years of experience in global health/ governance/ nutrition/ environment programs (a must).
Skills & Abilities:
- Travel up to 50% of the time.
- Must have experience in quantitatively analyzing MERLA data and synthesizing findings for programmatic use
- Proficiency with Microsoft Excel (required) and at least one other statistical package such as: R, SAS, STATA, or SPSS (preferred)
- Experience in designing and implementing qualitative studies, analyzing qualitative data and generating learning for programmatic use (preferred)
- Prior USAID experience preferred
- Knowledge of MERLA methods and approaches, as learned through coursework, internship, or work experience
- Experience managing electronic data capture and working with real-time monitoring of data (preferred)
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and meet deadlines under pressure
- Proven ability to work effectively in a team-oriented setting while also taking initiative to complete assigned tasks with high quality and within tight timelines
- Technical content experience in one or more of the following areas preferable: health systems strengthening, infectious diseases, NTDs, HIV, maternal and child health, nutrition, gender (preferred)
- High level of integrity
- Competency in English (required)
Physical and mental demands of this role include those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job, as outlined above. Examples include: remaining in a stationary position for long periods of time; operating a computer and other office machinery; thinking, learning, and concentrating effectively and frequently communicating with other people, both within RTI and outside of RTI; frequently moving about inside and travel between offices and laboratories; frequently conducting laboratory site inspections (if applicable), ability to handle the stress associated in meeting frequent, multiple and tight deadlines, ability to work in excess of 40 hours per week as workload and deadlines may require, ability to have regular, reliable and predictable attendance.
The above information on this description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job.