Health Assessor, Assessment Team - Merlin, Yemen

Closing date:  15 Nov 2011

Responsible To: Team Leader, Assessment Team, technically line managed by health Advisor in HO Works With: Logistics Assessor Location: Yemen Contract Duration: 3 weeks Starting Date: End of November Salary and Benefits: Between £29,600 and £30,350 per annum inclusive of cost of living allowance, insurance cover, return flights and accommodation.

Only short-listed applicants will be contacted. Due to the urgency of this position, applications will be short listed on a regular basis and we may offer this post before the closing date.
Merlin International Profile Merlin specialises in health, saving lives in times of crisis and helping to rebuild shattered health services. Each year, Merlin helps more than 15 million people in up to 20 countries.

Yemen is one of the most underdeveloped countries in the Middle East where nearly half of the population lives on less than $2 a day and an estimated 6.8 million Yemenis are food-insecure. Chronic malnutrition rates are high throughout the country.

Geographically the country is split into two geographical extremes: mountains and desert with limited infrastructure to support easy transport. Water and sanitation provision is low. The health service is underfunded, highly decentralized. Health systems and health staff are poorly trained and limited in number in rural areas. The health information system is weak but current health indicators report infant mortality 53/1000, under five mortality 69 and maternal mortality 430with low skilled birth attendance and low immunization rates. Female literacy is 35%. Malaria is endemic in specific geographical areas. There have been outbreaks of measles in 2010 and acute watery diarrhoea in 2011.

Ongoing fighting in Yemen between government and rebel troops was exacerbated in 2011 as a result of Arab Spring movements. Al Qaeda presence across the country add to overall insecurity. Vulnerable groups particularly being affected include 300,000 people displaced by a series of conflicts between the government and militants in North and South. The ongoing armed conflict in southern Yemen Governorate of Abyan has resulted in large scale displacement of people to neighbouring states of Al- Baida, Aden, Taiz and Lahj. Conflict has led to the closure of hospitals and limited access of affected populations to health services.

The nutrition cluster has described the situation in Hajja , Sanaa and Marib as severe, whereas a situation of concern in Amran, Al Bayda, Abyan, Taiz and Lah. Nutritional reports are varied with GAM rates from 15.7 to 20% and SAM of 6-8%.

Merlin was invited by both health and nutrition cluster to submit proposals to the consolidated appeal process and advised to conduct an assessment as soon as possible. Merlin designed a response based on provision of essential integrated health and nutrition services for a population of 100,000 with location to be determined and this has been positively received. Other actors (EC, MSF, MdM, Save the Children Sweden and Islamic Relief) further confirm required presence of additional actors. Recent ACAPS assessment report recommends a focus of support outside displaced camps in communities where host populations are struggling to support additional displaced families.

Merlin’s assessment team consists of a Team Leader, Health Assessor and Logistics Assessor who will determine the immediate health and nutrition needs with a view to Merlin’s longer term support needs in Yemen.

Overall Objectives • To assess the most urgent and critical health and nutrition needs in Yemen, with a special focus on primary health care, nutrition, reproductive health and communicable disease control. • To address the feasibility of Merlin’s current proposal and realign in light of situation on the ground. • To provide technical support to a proposal for submission to other donor(s). • To provide a plan for Merlin’s future interventions in the area in the short / medium term. • To establish a collaborative and open working relationship with Ministry of Health (MoH), and other relevant health and coordinating actors. • To assist the team leader to assess the donor environment with view to the potential for securing funding for proposed concept note(s).

Responsibilities To conduct a thorough health needs assessment in Yemen (specific locations to be determined at outset of assessment):
• Set up meeting with nutrition cluster coordinator, health cluster coordinator, and technical advisors from MSF, MdM, SCS, ICRC and AMI amongst others in country. • To seek overall information on population concentrations and capacity of existing health system ad response within population areas, key health and nutrition needs, stakeholder activities, priorities in terms of nutrition and health areas and geographical priorities. • To meet with MoH staff in central ministry particularly in public health and RH to understand the system and priorities and support from MoH. • To review secondary data and reports provided by key informants. • To provide technical guidance to Team Leader to determine geographical priorities for further assessments. • To conduct similar meetings at provincial and district level to gain further information and if possible conduct field visits to assess facilities, civil society organisations and key vulnerable communities host and displaced in camps and in communities in identified areas.

• To identify key communities health and nutrition needs and an effective response, including the following: • Major health needs - particular emphasis on the needs of vulnerable groups, especially pregnant and lactating women and children under 5 years. • Assessment on access and availability to essential obstetric care (antenatal care, skilled birth attendants, referral mechanisms for emergencies) and family planning methods (incl. sterilisation and implantable devices). • Assessment on routine immunisation, information on measles coverage. •

Assessment on the levels of malnutrition amongst the population (esp. pregnant/lactating women, children, IDPs and refugees) and access to supplementary/therapeutic feeding when required (referral mechanisms and other MoH / specialist agencies providing these services). • Assessment of the current disease early warning system of MoH/WHO, including the local capacity to respond to epidemics. • Assessment of the local (government and other UN agencies) planning and preparedness for disaster on epidemic response, food shortages and drought. • With Team Leader, assess technical human resource capacity to support response – direct recruitment possibilities, partner organisations and MoH capacity. • Work with the Logistics Assessor to assess, drug, medical supply and nutrition commodity needs. and rehabilitation and transport requirements.

• Assess support and partnership opportunities (immunisation, nutrition, drugs and equipment support) and present proposed partnership agreement for future work (UNICEF – immunization, UNICEF OTP SC support, WFP SFP support, WHO essential drugs and EWS). • Provide technical support to realign current concept note(s), completing all technical components of the concept note(s). • Provide technical support in donor meetings in country presenting findings and proposal outline.

• Responsible for staff health ensuring access to first aid and PEP kits, ensuring key information staff health support is obtained from relevant agencies and to oversee technical aspects of Medivac, if required. • Any other responsibilities as requested by Team Leader.

Specific Outputs
• Assessment report including populations’ disease burden (as available), access to health services, the MoH health system’s capacity to meet health service requirements, the presence of other health sector actors, practical programme implementation considerations, key contacts and recommendations for immediate response and considerations for longer term funding. . • Provide an overview of strengths and weaknesses of the national Ministry of Health through a brief analysis of its organizational structure, human resource capacity and strategic planning. • With the rest of the Assessment Team, define programme support requirements (including availability of human resources, logistics, procurement, transport, accommodation, communications etc.) in order to ensure effective potential service delivery. • Realigned emergency proposal for health and nutrition • Maintain regular contact with Merlin London through emails, sitreps and telephone.

Scope of the assessment • Once humanitarian need has been established potential programmes should be prioritised according to health need and strategic profile. • Assessments should be made according to  Level of felt & perceived humanitarian & recovery needs.  Other organisations present and their areas of intervention.  Potential strategic advantage / constraints.  Organisational remit and profile.  Potential funding.  Contextual constraints.

Approach and Methodology Information sources: • Written assessments and reports by other agencies. • Discussion with MoH, donors, strategy papers and budgets. • Consulting with key informants in country, especially NGOs implementing health and other sectoral activities within those provinces under consideration. • Meetings with government authorities at various levels. • Field visits to affected areas and discussions with relevant persons if security permits.

Person Specification Essential Qualifications, experience and competences
• Health professional with extensive experience in humanitarian health and nutrition programming, MPH or relevant degree. • Extensive experience in humanitarian assessments • Strong experience and skills in representation at national level. Able to conduct meetings with senior persons at government, UN and NGO level • Excellent written and spoken English • Working knowledge of Arabic • Experience in working through translators. • Experience of designing health project concept notes/ proposals • Experience of running community focus groups • Experience of working with an International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) in an emergency setting • Ability to work on own initiative and to meet deadlines • Attention to detail and ability to produce accurate information • Strong experience of working in insecure environments • Good IT skills (Microsoft Word and Excel)

Desirable Qualifications, experience and competences
• First-hand knowledge of Yemen • Written and spoken Arabic
Data Protection In accordance with the 1998 Data Protection Act Merlin will hold and use personal information that you have given for the purposes of recruitment and employment should an offer of employment be made. This information will be stored in manual and/or computer form. This information may also be disclosed to third parties in accordance with the Data Protection Act. In cases where a job offer is conditional on ensuring that potential employees’ names do not appear on counter terrorism lists generated by the United Nations, European Union or the United States due to donor funding requirements, Merlin will use the information that you have given for checking that your name does not appear on these lists.
How to apply: 
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Please note that we do not accept CVs and any application must therefore be made online or by completing our application form. Unfortunately due to the number of applications we receive, only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.