TB Lab Advisor
Posting Number: #209-21
Position Title: TB Lab Advisor
Closing Date: Until Filled
Location: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
SUSTAINING TECHNICAL AND ANALYTIC RESOURCES
FELLOWSHIP TITLE: TB Advisor
HOST ORGANIZATION: National Reference Lab of the National TB Program, Ministry of Health, Uzbekistan
LOCATION: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
POSITION LEVEL: : Mid-Career Advisor
STAR PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
Sustaining Technical and Analytic Resources (STAR) is a project of the Public Health Institute (PHI) in partnership with the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). STAR is a Global Health talent hub. Through fellowships, internships, and strategic partnerships, STAR supports building the capacity of diverse global health professionals and organizations at all levels to make inclusive, collaborative, and innovative contributions to global health. STAR participants collaborate in the development of systems and tools that strengthen and sustain the local and global health response. https://www.ghstar.org/ Sign up with our listserv.
ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP
The STAR Fellowship is a two-year global health and learning opportunity with:
- Individualized, tailored support to enhance the fellow’s achievement personal and professional goals.
- Personalized learning plans and access to learning resources (courses, conferences, mentoring) based on fellow’s learning style and preferences.
- Access to broad professional networks to enhance peer learning and knowledge sharing.
FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION
At the 2018 UN General Assembly, the member states agreed to identify and treat 40 million new TB patients and place 30 million at-risk people on preventive TB Treatment by 2022. Each country has aggressive individual goals to meet this ambitious target. For example, Uzbekistan will need to increase DR-TB detection and treatment from 2,200 cases to 3.600 by 2022. To achieve this goal, the National TB Program (NTP) is required to strengthen a reliable TB diagnostic system.
Reliability of the NTP’s National Reference Lab (NRL) and the entire TB lab network is crucial for timely TB/DR-TB detection and scaling up treatment with new regimens. USAID, in consultation with the NTP, will place an in-country Laboratory Advisor in the NRL.
The TB Lab Advisor will provide technical assistance to support the NTP in implementing the National TB Strategic Plan (NSP). The Advisor will support strengthening TB diagnostic and laboratory systems across the health care system in Uzbekistan to facilitate the introduction of new technologies to move accurately and efficiently to detect and treat TB and DR-TB and provide technical assistance in line with USAID’s Global Accelerator to End TB.
The Advisor will also contribute to strategic country-level TB planning and implementation, supporting TB and DR-TB diagnosis in adults and children and developing and strengthening linkages between TB diagnostic tools and TB case-finding strategies. The Advisor will also work closely with the other two USAID TB Advisors, international stakeholders, and local USAID TB program partners.
The Lab Advisor will be based at the National TB Program’s National Reference Lab within the Ministry of Health in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. They will work closely with and receive technical direction from the NTP Director, who will serve as the Point of Contact. The Advisor should communicate regularly with USAID/Uzbekistan health office, USAID/GH, other USAID TB Advisors, and have monthly meetings.
Essential Duties and Outcomes:
Strengthen the quality of the diagnostic network to build the capacity of the NTP:
- Support the NTP in the introduction and scale-up of new technologies for diagnosis and treatment of TB and DR-TB, including GeneXpert, SL-LPA, and other new TB and multiplex technologies. Review equipment maintenance processes and schedules and provide recommendations on further steps for improvement.
- Support the capacity building of National and sub-National levels in managing laboratory services, scale-up of new technologies, laboratory data management, quality assurance, and diagnostics.
- In coordination with NTP, conduct technical supervisory visits to districts and regions and provide timely feedback to all laboratory focal points.
- Support and strengthen NTP for an effective specimen transportation system and its scalability in the country, including coordination with relevant partners and other programs.
- Support the NTP in the implementation and scale-up of the data connectivity tools and build capacity on data analysis to make better decision-making at the policy and implementation level.
Improve national coordination of diagnostic network activities:
- Develop and strengthen the NTP’s platform for dialogue, data sharing, and addressing key laboratory issues within the Ministry of Health (MOH).
- Support further expansion and coordination of the new techniques to diagnose TB, including GeneXpert MTB/Rif technology, TrueNat, LPN, digital chest X-ray, data connectivity, and second-line DST.
- Support the NTP to prepare and conduct TB diagnostic network assessment.
- Support the NTP to coordinate and standardize the laboratory activities among major stakeholders- USAID-supported projects, GF, etc.
- Facilitate in developing a system on preventive maintenance of TB laboratory equipment and in sustaining the mechanism.
- Provide technical assistance to develop indicators and reporting mechanisms for routine monitoring of National TB Reference Lab and Regional TB Reference Lab diagnostic services.
- Liaise regularly with the Diagnostic and IC experts at NTP.
Improve implementation of the programmatic management of DR-TB (PMDT) activities:
- Support the NTP PMDT expert to accelerate PMDT activities, increasing DR-TB case finding in adults and children.
- Participate in lab technical working groups and implementation meetings.
- Support NTP to ensure timely access to DST for SL and new drugs and strengthen the current reporting system through establishing Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).
Improve the timely identification of technical assistance needs and coordination of responses:
- Identify TB lab technical assistance needs and work with USAID and other partners to address those needs.
- Explore opportunities for improvement across multiple issues in TB diagnostic networks, such as Xpert and TrueNat expansion planning, connectivity, specimen transport, quality assessment, and improvement processes, including lab accreditation and supervision processes.
- Present options analyses to NTP and partners and jointly work on implementing these recommendations.
- Together with the NTP manager, coordinate with other partners supporting TB lab strengthening activities.
- Provide regular updates on lab and diagnostic progress to NTP and USAID, including developing and submitting technical monthly progress reports and bi-annual monitoring and evaluation reports to USAID staff.
Provide technical assistance related to Procurement and Supply Management (PSM) system:
- Review the supply chain management systems and procedures used for the TB laboratory network; identify the PSM-related challenges that could be overcome with appropriate intervention to ensure continuous availability of equipment, reagents, laboratory tools, and consumables.
- Assist in improving the system for the entire cycle of PSM – product selection, quantification of TB laboratory diagnostic needs, preparation of procurement list with product specifications, quality assurance, storage, inventory management, and rational use of commodities, to make sure overstock or stock out is avoided.
- Support National Lab Coordinator in coordinating the centralized distribution of all procurement items, including equipment, consumables, and reagents for routine and training purposes.
- Provide support in registering and purchasing substances for the DST and support technically in implementing the quality DST on those drugs.
Anticipated learning outcomes: approximate 10% time
- Apply Lab and TB knowledge to strengthen the program.
- Apply and distinguish international standards within technical/content areas to support programming.
- Cultivate leadership skills based on the STAR GH mentorship curriculum to effectively facilitate capacity building and knowledge sharing activities amongst staff and peers.
- Expand access to knowledge and resources through networking and collaborative practice within global health.
- Minimum 7 years of relevant technical experience with master’s degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences, microbiology, or relevant field or a minimum of 9 years of relevant technical experience with bachelor’s degree.
- Minimum of 5 years of experience working as an international TB laboratory consultant and TB control program, which includes experience providing technical assistance to TB reference laboratory.
- Knowledge of TB diagnostic networks and experience in strengthening diagnostic networks, including supporting elements, such as specimen transport, biosafety, supervision, mentorship, and quality assurance.
- Experience in conducting training and capacity building.
- Advanced interpersonal skills and experience working with a diverse group of stakeholders in the TB program, preferably the national stakeholders and international donors.
- Language skills – Russian and English – essential, Uzbek – is an asset.
SALARY AND BENEFITS
- The Public Health Institute offers a comprehensive benefits package including learning programs.
All applicants are required to apply for this position through STAR’s online recruitment system at https://www.ghstar.org/, which allows you to store your CV/resume and separate cover letter describing your qualifications and experience, interest and familiarity with issues relating to this position, and how this position relates to your career goals is required for each application.
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