Health Advisor - Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), Amsterdam

The overall purpose of Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) is to preserve life and alleviate suffering, while protecting human dignity and seeking to restore the ability of people to make their own decisions. MSF accomplishes this through the provision of medical aid and a personal commitment to act as witness to events surrounding populations in danger. This work is essentially performed in periods of crisis, when a situation is no longer held in balance and the very survival of a population may be threatened. The underlying basis for realising MSF’s objectives is respect for medical ethics, humanitarian principles, human rights and international humanitarian law.

In the Operations Centre Amsterdam (OCA) MSF-Holland, Germany and UK share ownership and responsibility for Operations in the field. This has resulted in programme portfolios managed by Operations Managers (OM) run out of Amsterdam (3-4 portfolios) and Berlin (1 portfolio), plus a medical unit (Manson Unit) in London. Each portfolio of countries is supported by a team of advisors (the cell) - including the Health Advisor- led by the Operations Manager.

The Public Health Department (PHD) of the OCA supports the overall purpose of MSF, providing medical and public health leadership for the organisation. The department is responsible for providing strategic direction and integrated advice on medical and public health issues to the field and headquarters (operational managers). The PHD plays a key role in developing and maintaining the medical humanitarian identity and image of MSF-OCA, and in continuing to develop and improve intervention strategies so as to be relevant and effective. The Health Advisor plays a critical role in this, translating medical and public health strategies into field operations. The department is made up of a group of generalist Health Advisors (based in Amsterdam and Germany working directly with operations managers and the field), and medical and public health specialists (nutrition, water and sanitation, mental health, Access campaign etc) so as to provide expert support in a range of fields.

With immediate effect we are looking for a:

Health Advisor (100%)
Based in Amsterdam

The Health Advisor reports for all operational/medical activities to the Coordinator of Health Advisors. The respective Operations Manager will lead the cell and ensure day to day functioning of the cell. This will require close collaboration with the Coordinator of Health Advisors to ensure operational and departmental commitments are balanced.

The overall objective of the post is to provide medical and public health leadership in one portfolio of countries, to ensure MSF-OCA interventions effectively address the health needs of the populations we serve. This requires a close working relationship with the Operations Manager in order to develop, lead and ensure implementation of new strategies and interventions. The HA has a functional line directly to the medical coordinator for each country in the field. The Health Advisor works with support from a second Health Advisor in each portfolio.

  • The Health Advisor is responsible for leading the implementation, and assuring the quality of, health and medical programmes in his/her portfolio. This includes:
  • Providing medical leadership to countries in his/her operational portfolio (± 3-5 countries), following the direction provided by the MSF-OCA Strategic Plan 2011-2014, annual plans and current MSF medical policies;
  • Providing expert advice and support to the portfolio (Operations Manager, medical co-ordinators and country managers) in developing medical and health policies for his/her countries and translating them into effective operational strategies, including related advocacy and Access Campaign issues;
  • Visiting each country/project to review programme direction, quality, and develop strategies, at least once a year;
  • Coordinating the support from internal/external specialist advisors for specific countries;
  • Reviewing/approving key HR appointments (Medco, Project Coordinators etc) for field projects, and (de)briefing of field staff;
  • Directing and supporting medical co-ordinators and country managers in implementation of the country planning cycle: country policy, annual planning, and project proposals;
  • Stimulating awareness of emerging health problems in populations in countries and in ensuring an appropriate response;
  • Ensuring that MSF-OCA field practice meets internationally agreed medical ethics, standards and laws (quality of medicines, treatment protocols, transport of biological and pharmaceutical materials), given contextual constraints;
  • Monitoring the quality, outcomes and achievements of programmes. 
In addition, the Health Advisor will contribute as requested by the Coordinator of Health Advisors to:
  • The development and implementation of new health policies, operational strategies and protocols for MSF-OCA, including the development of pilot initiatives in the field; 
  • The development and implementation of operational research in MSF-OCA; 
  • Publication of relevant experience/research in medical and general media; 
  • Training and representation tasks as delegated by the Coordinator of Health Advisors. 
  • Medical doctor, with broad knowledge and experience in the field of international Public Health and up to date clinical skills in tropical medicine; 
  • Relevant academic qualifications (minimum MD and Master of Public Health); 
  • Proven ability to provide strong leadership and vision in project/programme management; 
  • Proven strategic and analytical skills in medical programming; 
  • Excellent communication and negotiation skills (oral and written); 
  • Knowledge and experience in the humanitarian world; commitment and passion for the goals and work of MSF; 
  • At least 3 years field experience with a medical-humanitarian organisation, preferably with MSF and in a medical coordinator role; 
  • Ability to provide emergency support to field programmes for up to six weeks per year at short notice (ie 48hrs); 
  • Flexibility to travel and support projects (up to 40% of the job will be spent on project visits); 
  • Fluency in English and preferably French is an advantage. 
  • Knowledge and experience in a specialist area, preferably epidemiology, health research, or a clinical specialty (e.g. tropical medicine, infectious diseases, paediatrics); 
  • Ability to motivate and coach professionals.
  • A full time appointment (based on a 40-hour work week) for a period of (preferably) three years;
  • A gross salary of a minimum of € 3403and a maximum of € 4860 per month (scale 8) depending on relevant work experience, for a full-time appointment; 
  • A challenging position within a stimulating, professional working environment in a major international organisation; 
  • Attractive secondary benefits (premium free pension, 30 holidays).
If you are interested in this job and would like additional information, please contact Koert Ritmeijer (Coordinator of Health Advisers) ph +31 (0) 20 520 8767.

If you are interested in this position, please send your application letter together with your CV before 20th August 2012 to  mentioning‘Health Advisor’ for the attention of Ms Jaline Wijkhuizen (Personnel Officer HQ). Please also mention where you came across this vacancy.