Position: Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, Learning and Adaptation (MERLA) Officer
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 Officer 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 provide a first line review for the monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of program performance and results for Tanzania-led activities and assist in facilitating learning using those results. The MERLA Officer will work under the MERLA Advisor to conduct regular program data analysis, identifying areas for additional support., and identify how results will be used for program improvement through programmatic adaptation.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Support the design and implementation of a M&E plan in line with the National NTD program framework.
- Support 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 MERLA Advisor, 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.
- 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
- Supports MERLA activity tracking, including ensuring that activities are implemented in accordance with approved work plan and budget.
- Performs first line data reviews for specific program activities (e.g. surveys, mass drug administration, training) to ensure data accuracy and completeness.
- During routine and ongoing data review, communicates any problems with data quality to the Program Manager to ensure accurate data collection and reporting.
- Fills out 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 Program Manager.
- Draft 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
- Assist developing protocols and reports for disease-specific assessments, data analysis to inform action-oriented conclusions, and the application of learning.
- Support the submission of survey outputs which include, but are not limited to, survey reports, raw survey data, and clean datasets.
- Support disease specific assessment outcome evaluations.
Program learning and adaptation through data use
- Review country-level work plans and semi-annual reports to ensure they 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).
- Assist 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 learning and program adaptation, including operationalizing learning agenda action items.
- Assist in coordinating and facilitating 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.
- Support capacity strengthening efforts to the MOHCDEC to conduct MERLA activities and institutionalize the approaches for said MERLA activities.
Minimum Required Education & Experience:
Bachelor’s degree in public health, epidemiology, bio-statistics, or other analytics field (a must), plus 3 years of experience; or a master’s degree in public health plus 1 year of experience in global health/ governance/ nutrition/ environment programs (preferred).
Skills & Abilities:
- Travel up to 50% of the time.
- Proficiency with Microsoft Excel.
- 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
- Capacity to prioritize and manage multiple tasks
- Strong organizational skills
- High level of integrity
- Ability to communicate respectfully in a multi-cultural environment
- An understanding of development issues
- Competency in English (required)