Purpose of the post: To serve as a technical guide to the Provincial Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), so that a rapid and effective response can be made to polio-related triggers, such as the detection of the virus and/or an outbreak. The focus is on timely detection, notification, investigation and an effective follow-up of recommendations, to help reduce the chances of importation of the virus to previously non-endemic areas and generally stopping its transmission throughout Pakistan.
Overview of the program: The continued transmission of poliovirus in Pakistan has become a national emergency. Pakistan now risks becoming the last remaining reservoir of endemic poliovirus transmission in the World and the only remaining threat to achieving polio eradication globally. Improvements to the Programme are being evidenced in the declining number of wild poliovirus (WPV) cases. Rapid Response Units (RRU) have been established at the National and Provincial EOCs to enable a timely and aggressive response to any epidemiologic or programmatic risks and ensure a multidimensional investigation to emerging issues. RRUs provide an immediate capacity to respond to virus or performance events that threaten the Programmes capacity to interrupt wild poliovirus transmission. The RRU is a multi-disciplinary group made up of members from different partner agencies working under the one team under one roof concept that was introduced as part of the Accountability and Performance Management Framework of the National EOC.
Organizational context: Under the technical supervision of the RRU Coordinator, the Provincial Polio Team Leader and overall supervision of the WHO Representative, in addition to the guidance provided by the Risk Assessment and Decision Support Team Coordinator, the Provincial Polio Emergency Response Officer will deliver as part of a cross-functional team in the Provincial Emergency Operation Center thats led by the EOC Coordinator and undertakes the following duties:
1. Develop a clear Provincial Policy Framework for the development of a rapid response capacity at all levels.
2. Provide technical leadership and guidance to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners and field staff in the early detection, investigation and response to major events.
3. Perform comprehensive risk analyses of emerging events and provide detailed briefings to the Provincial EOC Coordinator and the Partner Technical Leads.
4. Provide trainings to the personnel who are involved in the implementation of major strategic components of the GPEI.
5. Analyze and assess potential risks to the Programmes performance, by:
Reviewing data collected from different sources (eg. socio-demographic data, performance indicators, results of desk and field reviews, campaign outcome indicators, etc.);
Interpreting data to prioritize potential triggers and high-risk areas according to seriousness and possible risk involved; and,
Recommend appropriate actions based on the results of the assessments.
6. Lead response efforts to major events through extended field deployments and provide technical guidance to the EOC Coordinators, District Commissioners, and DPCRs. This response capacity shall be the primary deliverable for the Provincial RRU Officer and will be used to assess overall performance of the officer and the unit.
7. Together with the provincial-level leadership, conduct investigations of important events and outbreaks (eg. WPV, VDPV and SL2) in coordination with GPEI partners, through conducting desk reviews and field investigations.
8. Guide surveillance and government staff and participate in carrying out district-level follow-ups of: zero-dose AFP cases; clustering of AFP cases; community surveys; and healthy children sampling in grey and high-risk areas.
9. Facilitate and support the monitoring efforts during the pre-, intra- and post-campaign phases, with an end towards improving the quality of the campaigns.
10. Design and develop new investigative and response strategies (whenever needed) according to the different field scenarios and new emerging situations.
11. Develop comprehensive and quality reports for different interested parties that incorporate findings and highlight gaps, while suggesting appropriate recommendations with a corresponding action plan, including estimating the extent of risk involved in improving the situation.
12. Present technically sound PowerPoint presentations to various GPEI partners and donors.
Functional skills and experience:
1. The incumbent must have at least five years of professional work experience of which three years should be specific to emergency and/or outbreaks investigation and response.
2. Strong technical knowledge in public health, epidemiology, surveillance, disease outbreak investigation, data management including analysis and interpretation of Campaign and AFP surveillance data.
3. Experience or knowledge of the WHO mandate and goals of the Polio Eradication Initiative.
4. Must have field experience in public health eradication initiatives and emergency response / outbreak investigations
5. Must be able to transfer his/her knowledge to others in a credible way.
6. Must be able to clearly write scientific presentation/publications for programme use.
7. Must be an effective team player and able to engage in successful interaction; extensive contact with members of government and partners at all levels.
8. Good communication skills.
1. Communicating in a credible and effective way
2. Producing results
3. Fostering integration and teamwork
4. Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond
5. Promoting WHO's position in health leadership.
6. Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
Degree in medicine with post-graduate degree in epidemiology or public health from a recognized University is essential.
Post-graduate training through a field epidemiology training program or the Epidemic intelligence Service (EIS) is an added advantage