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Epidemiologist: Khayelitsha (3 month contract)

Apply by Starting Date Job Section Location
Apply by: 
Monday, April 23, 2018
Starting Date: 
Sunday, July 1, 2018
Job Section: 
Work in our Offices
South Africa

Job title:                             Epidemiologist

Work Location:                  Khayelitsha, Western Cape

Duration:                            3 months

Start date:                          01 July – 30 September 2018

Reports to:                         HIV Medical Activities Manager



MSF is an international non-governmental organization providing medical services and support in many countries throughout the world.  The Khayelitsha project provides support to HIV, TB, and DR TB programmes being run by local government in the sub-district.  Part of this support involves piloting innovative strategies to promote virologic suppression, long term retention in care, and support for high risk groups of HIV positive patients.  The HIV epidemiologist for vulnerable populations is responsible for projects related to males, youth, PrEP, maternal and child health, ‘Welcome back services’ and pediatrics.  For the pilots, he/she is responsible for the monitoring, evaluation, and operational research around MSF Khayelitsha project’s annual objectives, with the aim to disseminate key findings and advocacy messages through conferences, publications, and interactions with the local and national Department of Health. 


The HIV epidemiologist will report to the HIV Medical Activities Manager of MSF Khayelitsha, along with on-going communication with academic partners and other MSF projects involved in M&E and operational research.  The HIV epidemiologist will also need to communicate with facility managers and government partners on the implementation and outcomes of pilot projects.




Education, Experience

  • Masters in Public Health or MSc Epidemiology , or other related masters in a scientific discipline
  • Proven record of publications in peer reviewed journals and acceptance of abstracts in national and international HIV conferences
  • Experience in data management, data cleaning, reporting and training data staff
  • Experience in statistical analyses
  • Previous training and experience using database software:  Stata (essential), REDCap or similar
  • At least 2 years’ experience working with data/databases
  • Proven experience working with electronic HIV/AIDS databases
  • South African citizenship or a valid work visa
  • Previous experience working with large HIV cohorts (preferred)
  • Experience with operational research (preferred)
  • Knowledge of the Khayelitsha context (preferred)
  • Experience with PHCIS, PREHMIS or (preferred)



  • English (fluent, spoken / written)
  • isiXhosa (advantageous)



  • Word, Excel, PowerPoint and all other basic office software (essential)
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Flexibility to work in a variety of environments, including clinic-based registries
  • The ability to communicate well and work under pressure within a productive operational research environment 
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work in a team



  • Preparing and adapting routine documentation (survey forms, training materials, letters of request/notification, locally appropriate consent forms etc.) with support of HQ epidemiologist.
  • Managing data systems and ensuring accurate, high quality databases; analyzing results and preparing regular written reports on progress and findings for medical coordinator/HQ and when appropriate to external collaborators/networks (MoH, other NGOs, etc.)


  • Planning and supervising the associated HR processes of the staff under his/her responsibility (recruitment, training/induction, evaluation, potential detection, development and


  • Providing training sessions to medical teams on relevant aspects of epidemiology to enhance team response capacity
  • Providing training to and supervising the team that will participate in performing the research.

Operational Research

  • Where relevant, participating in defining the objectives of operational research, developing research protocols and methodology including patient inclusion criteria and data management processes, and identifying the human resources needed to conduct the research in order to obtain relevant information for the medical intervention. Where relevant, ensuring compliance with MSF laboratory protocols (secure manipulation of samples, shipment of samples etc.)
  • Coordinating the execution of the research with partners ensuring compliance to MSF protocols.
  • Ensuring patients included in any research have freely given their consent to participate and have received the correct information in a format they can comprehend
  • Reviewing data collection and undertaking analysis as appropriate, reporting on a regular basis to the functional referent about study progress and any relevant information for the mission/project. Writes a clear research report documenting the full methods and results and draws appropriate conclusions supported by the results. Where appropriate, participating in writing scientific papers.
  • Ensuring dissemination of findings to the community as described in the study protocol


Monitoring and evaluation (M&E)

The epidemiologist is responsible for the organization and completion of the M&E of MSF pilot projects related to: males, youth, PrEP, maternal and child health, ‘Welcome back services’ and pediatrics.  This requires knowledge and understanding of the data collection processes in Khayelitsha health care facilities, including electronic databases that can be accessed remotely to paper register/patient folder data that needs to be collected at the facility.  The HIV epidemiologist must understand the flow of patient information from patient folder to provincial statistics, and often needs to work as part of a multidisciplinary team to enhance sub-district M&E involving both Province and City Health.  Core responsibilities include:

  • Supervise and manage the M&E team, involving a data manager and data assistant, in order to ensure timely collection of data for project pilots
  • Work with project managers in the design and implementation of M&E for new pilot projects, with enhancement of existing data collection systems when possible
  • Participate in M&E meetings within MSF and with stakeholders
  • Compile quarterly statistics and assist with the development of yearly project indicators
  • Support the quarterly reporting of data from pilot project managers
  • Further development and maintenance of M&E tools for new and ongoing projects

Operational research

The epidemiologist is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the MSF Khayelitsha HIV (vulnerable populations) operational research agenda.  Core responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring that each pilot project has a valid concept paper, research protocol, and ethics approval as needed
  • Maintaining an up to date operational research agenda
  • Ensuring communication on data updates and data collection challenges of current projects within the project team
  • Providing support for pilot projects from conceptualization during the yearly planning process through to dissemination of findings
  • Support operational research through writing of peer reviewed articles and study reports; the epidemiologist may lead the process of publication as first author, or provide support for other team members, depending on the person responsible for publication
  • Conduct data cleaning and statistical analyses as needed for data analysis; this will include mostly quantitative analyses of observational cohort data, but qualitative input may also be required
  • Ensuring ethics approvals are renewed per request from ethics review boards
  • Organizing meetings with research partners as needed
  • Support the capacity building of the M&E/operational research staff in the Khayelitsha project

TO APPLY: please email a one page application letter, your comprehensive CV with details of 3 contactable referees to:  Closing date: 23 April 2018. Only short listed applicants will be contacted.