UNFPA-Strategic Information Specialist (Plague Response)-P3-Madagascar

Location: Antananarivo, Madagascar, Madagascar
Date Posted: 26-10-2017
On 13 September 2017, the Madagascar Ministry of Public Health notified WHO of an outbreak of pneumonic plague, following the death of a 47-year-old woman in Soavinandriana Hospital, Antananarivo on 11 September 2017 from a respiratory tract infection. Blood samples collected from the deceased confirmed the bacteria that causes plague, by the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, using the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT). This initial case triggered a field investigation, which established that, the current outbreak started on 23 August 2017 when the index case, a 31-year-old male from Tamatave, developed a malaria-like illness. On 27 August 2017, the index case travelled by public transport (bush taxi) from Ankazobe District to Toamasona (via Antananarivo) while symptomatic, and died on the way. A large cluster of this infection later developed around his contacts (secondary cases), with onward transmission (tertiary cases). Since then, cases of pneumonic plague without any apparent epidemiological links have been detected in different parts of the country, including non­endemic areas and major cities.

As of 6 October 2017, a total of 258 cases (suspected, probable and confirmed) with 36 deaths (case fatality rate 14%) have been reported from 27 districts in 13 regions, with a different epidemiological background and mostly in urban areas. The 258 cases are disaggregated into 142 males and 116 females, and 17 deaths among male and 19 deaths among female. Status of pregnancy, and age disaggregated data are not available. The most affected areas are the densely-populated cities of 3 districts in the Analamanga region: District Antananarivo-Atsimondrano, District Antananarivo- Avaradrano, and District Antananarivo-Renivohitra (including capital city of Antananarivo) with 2,150,405 inhabitants, 119 reported cases, and 13 deaths, and 2 districts in the Atsinanana region: Toamasina I (first Port city), and Toamasina II with 548,171 inhabitants, 40 reported cases, and 5 deaths. These 5 most affected districts have 61% of national plague reported cases, and 50% of plague related death.

Of the 258 cases, 171 cases had the pneumonic form of the disease. Eight healthcare workers from one health facility in Toamasina I have contracted pneumonic plague, and are under successful treatment. In this city, the Prefect of the Region, the Regional Health Director and the two Districts Health Directors have also contracted pneumonic plague and recovered with treatment.
An initial rapid risk assessment based on the situation as of 19 September 2017, concluded that the overall risk at national level was high due to the high transmissibility of pneumonic plague associated with severe disease and detection of this outbreak more than two weeks after the first case died, during which cases travelled to different parts of the country, including the capital Antananarivo. The overall regional risk is moderate due to frequent flights to neighboring Indian Ocean islands. The global risk is low.

Women and girls are at greatest risk of contracting plague because of their community and family role of assistance to those infected, their marginalization and not empowered on accessing health care, in addition to their low economic status. Around 53% of death related plague target women. Age disaggregated data are not available. The most vulnerable population includes pregnant women due to their immune system, with outcomes such as maternal mortality, miscarriage, stillbirth, or early neonatal death. There is an urgent need to get more data related to women and girls in the context of plague.
WHO recommends the implementation of proven strategies for the prevention and control of plague outbreak. As for all epidemics, these strategies include (i) coordination of the response, (ii) enhanced surveillance, (iii) laboratory confirmation, (iv) contact identification and follow-up, (v) case management, (vi) infection prevention and control, (vii) safe and dignified burials, (viii) social mobilization and community engagement, (ix) logistics, (x) risk communication, (xi) vector control, (xii) partner engagement, (xiii) research and (xiv) resource mobilization.

Based on the current context, the ToR of Strategic Population Development/Data programming Specialist is developed to improve UNFPA contribution to the Plague Outbreak: : (i) enhance the quality and availability of holistic information on, population, risk, vulnerability and humanitarian issues need to influence decision-making, (ii) maintaining and enhancing data sets related to the responses to Plague outbreak, (iii) promoting quality assurance of data collected and analyzed in regards to Plague outbreak, and reducing the effects of information overload, including utilization of information technology.

Role Description
Under the overall guidance and supervision of UNFPA country representative, and the direct supervision of the deputy representative, and in close collaboration with the other CO staff and in close conjunction with WHO and MoH the Strategic I Population Development/Data programming Specialist will work proactively to improve response to Plague outbreak through: (i) supporting strategic and operational decision-making by processing and analyzing reliable data on the population, locations of people in need, their urgent needs for effective and timely humanitarian assistance, (ii) enhancing response to immediate and special needs by integrating gender into assessments, analysis and reporting data disaggregated by sex and age, (iii) establish and maintain an information network at the national level to facilitate humanitarian information exchange and the promotion of data and
information sharing protocols, (iv) improving cellphone application system for management of the information in real time.

  • Assist the Country Office in the planning, coordination and implementation of Plague outbreak response, including rapid assessments, communication/reporting, and technical areas of intervention.
  • Ensure the quality of Plague outbreak data and information collected through the capitalization of existing/development of standards for information collection, exchange, security, attribution and use.
  • Collect and analyze data and information related to the Plague outbreak, including geo- referencing data, in daily basis.
  • Monitor, analyze and disseminate trends and risk assessments of the Plague outbreak.
  • Develop disaggregated information products on operationally relevant themes, including location and condition of the affected population, and factors affecting access to affected populations.
  • Organize and archive data and information on operationally relevant themes for high-risk areas.
  • Define current CommCare user needs and emphasize data sets and formats that directly support decision-making at the field level.
  • Identify new CommCare user groups, conduct user requirement analysis, inventory information resources inventory and define core information products based on user input.
  • Maintain/develop partnerships with specialized agencies and sector experts to conduct sectorial surveys and analyses.
  • Build and strengthen the national/local capacity in information management and exchange and promote the transfer and use of local knowledge.
  • Create maps to effectively communicate information to decision-makers.
  • Provide strategic and technical support to the Surveillance unit.
  • Collaborate, within the UNFPA CO, with all other specialists/analysts, including, external relations and communication analyst to ensure the smooth implementation of tasks above for the Plague response.
  • Undertake any other related responsibility as may be required by the country office senior management.
The deliverables shall be submitted in electronic format and shall include the following:
  • List of key common agreed information and metadata to be collected and analyzed on daily basis.
  • Weekly sheets (including analysis of trends) of the UNFPA response in the field of contact tracing.
  • Weekly Progress assessment tables or map with disaggregated data related to CommCare.
  • Detailed guidelines/tools, written instructions on the improvement of the Plague outbreak’s data as part of support to Surveillance Unit.
  • Monthly reports on the activities carried out within the framework of this ToR.
  • Documentation of the contribution of UNFPA in the field of Plague data management and contact tracing.
By providing highest state-of-the-art technical expertise, the outputs shall result in the successful contribution to the achievement of UNFPA contribution to the elimination of the Plague outbreak.

Values and competences
  • Good knowledge of and experience working in humanitarian data management
  • Good knowledge of Humanitarian Assistance Reporting standard in data sourcing, cartographic presentation and geographic information system analysis
  • Effective problem solving, self-improvement, analysis and synthesis
  • Geo-referencing data during collection allows
  • Strong sense of professional ethics, openness, inclusiveness and sharing
  • Good capacity in coordination among multiple stakeholders
  • Excellent writing and IT skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Effective team work
  • Effective independent work, adaptability, creativity
  • UN experience an advantage
Qualifications and Skills required
  • Relevant to the assignment advanced degree in statistics or another relevant field
  • Other trainings in the area of assignment will be an asset
  • At least 5 years of professional experience of information management and monitoring data
  • At least 3 years of professional experience in data base design and maintenance
  • At least 2 years’ experience working in humanitarian response
  • Experience working in Ebola outbreak response is an asset
  • Experience of defining and monitoring performance indicators is an asset
  • Experience of "monitoring and evaluation” of projects is an asset
Languages: Fluency in French and English
this job portal is powered by CATS