United Nations University Job Vacancy: Research Officer (Health), Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia

About the United Nations University (UNU)
For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on the pressing global problems of human survival, conflict prevention, development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 13 countries, UNU’s work spans the full breadth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change. UNU maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies and leading universities and research institutions across the globe.

UNU International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH)
UNU-IIGH is one of 14 research and training centres that comprise the UNU system. As a UN think tank, the mission of UNU-IIGH is to build knowledge and capacity for decision-making by UN agencies, programmes, and Member States about global health issues. The aim is to contribute to the development and strengthening of health services policy frameworks and management actions, particularly for people in developing countries, and to support implementation of promotive and preventive approaches to human health. UNU-IIGH’s research and capacity building in global health relates specifically to informing the policy debates and directions that ensure that in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “no one is left behind”.

Project: Health system cultural competency and financing for migrant service use in Thailand and Malaysia: a comparative study

Malaysia and Thailand are major destination countries for low-skilled migrants working mainly in construction, agriculture, manufacturing and services, and domestic work. Malaysia hosts an estimated 4-6 million documented and undocumented migrant workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, while Thailand hosts around 4-5 million migrants, mainly from neighbouring countries Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar (CLM), of whom 1-2.5 million are estimated to be irregular migrants working in the informal economy. Both countries host significant refugee populations (150,000 in Malaysia, 100,000 in Thailand) mainly from Myanmar, and are destination countries for human trafficking. Despite large numbers of migrants in both countries, we know little about how healthcare providers are responding to the challenges posed by this changing patient demographic.

This research project examines cultural competence and financing of health systems for both documented and undocumented migrants in Thailand and Malaysia. The objectives are to:
  • Design a conceptual framework for a culturally competent health system for migrant service use in the Thai/Malaysian context, grounded in systems thinking
  • Identify promising prejudice reduction interventions that could be realized in Thailand and Malaysia
  • Describe and compare supportive system features in both countries, including cultural competency and migrant health financing
  • Compare qualitative findings of health workers’ attitudes and behaviours towards migrants in both countries
In qualitative work in Malaysia, we will explore how interpretation services with migrants are currently being conducted and how healthcare is financed for both documented and undocumented migrants. This component will involve interviews with health workers, hospital administrators, migrant health patient coordinators at NGOs, employers, and policymakers, at research sites across the Klang Valley and/or Johor or Penang.

We are seeking a Research Officer to support research and coordination activities with partners in Malaysia and Thailand, and to conduct research for the Malaysia component. We are looking for a self-motivated individual with experience in leading qualitative research projects, ideally related to migrant and refugee health.

The Research Officer will be based at UNU-IIGH and will be primarily supervised by the coordinating PI, Dr. Nicola Pocock. Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:
  • Design and input to qualitative data collection tools;
  • Organising and conducting qualitative interviews with stakeholders, including seeking relevant MOH approvals as needed
  • Transcription of interview transcripts from Malay to English, conducting or overseeing translation of transcripts
  • Translation of policy documents and circulars from Malay to English
  • Conducting qualitative data analysis in NVivo
  • Drafting manuscripts and policy briefs
  • Organising a joint analysis meeting with Thai partners in 2019
  • Organising a dissemination meeting with Malaysian partners and stakeholders in 2019
  • Conducting searches and tasks for a systematic or umbrella review of prejudice reduction interventions
  • Liaising with PIs at University Malaya and Monash University, International Health Policy Program in Thailand to organise meetings and coordinate manuscript writing
  • Liaising with UNU-IIGH staff to arrange travel and event logistics related to the project
  • Drafting financial expenditure summaries as needed
  • Minimum qualifications and experience
Required qualifications and experience include:
  • Advanced university degree (master’s or equivalent) in public health, health policy, international development, or social sciences and health
  • Excellent communication skills, including writing and editing manuscripts
  • Experience of conducting, preferably leading, qualitative research projects and data analysis; experience of conducting systematic reviews is highly desirable
  • Experience of conducting research in MOH Malaysia facilities and familiarity with processes and approvals is highly desirable
  • Strong IT skills and familiarity with MS Office, referencing software (Endnote, Zotero) and qualitative analysis software (NVivo)
  • Excellent organisational skills, preferably in a research or higher education field
  • Able to work independently with minimal supervision
  • Fluency in spoken and written English and in Bahasa Malaysia
Remuneration & duration of contract

This is a full-time, locally recruited position on a Consultant Contract (CTC) for 12 months, with an initial probation period of 4 weeks. Remuneration for this position is at $1200 USD/month. UNU-IIGH is unable to sponsor work visas for consultants, and payment of any taxes remains the sole responsibility of the consultant.

Starting date
ASAP, by Monday 7 January 2019.

Related Files: CLICK HERE

Please send your CV, reference or contact details for 2 referees, and a brief note in your email about your experience to recruit.iigh@unu.edu and nicola.pocock@unu.edu by Monday 26 November 2018. Please include “Research Officer: Migrant Health” in the email subject line. Interviews will be held between Monday 3rd – Friday 7th December, with an anticipated start date as soon as possible thereafter.