Public Health & Safety Manager, Ebola Response - DRC
** Position to start as soon as possible
** Duration: 1- 3 months
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.
Program / Department Summary
Mercy Corps has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of over 300 people working in Eastern DRC, with the overall country goal to support vulnerable communities through crises, while fostering programs that build resilience and promote long-term change. Mercy Corps' national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri. Mercy Corps' key programming areas include a combination of longer-term development and immediate humanitarian response programs in order to:
1) Improve water service delivery and ensuring equitable access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services, in urban and rural areas;
2) Improve food security and nutrition;
3) Promote diversified livelihoods, economic recovery and development.
Mercy Corps DRC's humanitarian programs aim specifically to assist populations affected by the conflict and crisis in Eastern Congo. With funding from humanitarian donors including ECHO, OFDA and UN-donors, the humanitarian portfolio continues to expand in order to provide multi-purpose cash assistance and emergency WASH to displaced and host populations. An Ebola virus outbreak has recently been confirmed in Beni area of North-Kivu province. Mercy Corps is working in close coordination with other actors and is getting ready to prepare a WASH response should the Health Division requests more support from partners. All Mercy Corps interventions in DRC are implemented in a conflict and gender sensitive manner.
General Position Summary
This position is primarily responsible to ensure staff safety in the office, work locations and while implementing programs to the best of our ability. The Mercy Corps safety strategy in the Ebola virus (EBV) crisis is public health oriented and relies on informed staff and simple, straight-forward messaging around safety and EBV issues. This internal strategy is consistent with messages and the spirit of EBV-related program activities. While Mercy Corps currently does not intend to implement a clinical response to the EBV crisis, this position must be knowledgeable of the health facilities and local capacities in DRC to effectively inform colleagues and guide the Country Director on effective protective measures and contingency planning. These plans are not static and expected to change with external factors and developments to this crisis. The Safety Advisor will also support program design and partners in both messaging and safety measures while carrying out program activities.
Essential Job Responsibilities
- Track EBV information in DRC as it applies to programmatic and staff safety.
- Provide weekly briefings to team members and as-needed alerts to events that may have effect on our planning, and staff or partner safety.
- Develop an understanding of program activities in country. Routine evaluation of program and operational activities. Understand our exposure to the EBV threat and provide routine updates on this to country and regional management.
- Participate as part of country Security Management Team and help perpetuate an informed dialogue around these threats and our risk threshold – including partners.
- Review and routinely update the existing security plans (SOPs and Contingency planning) as relates to EBV and other medical or medical emergency issues.
- Provide regular training to Mercy Corps team members and partners on EBV-related SOPs so that these skills are understood and effectively transferred.
- Design or disseminate training materials for home-use.
- Train and test all contingency plans related to EBV and medical emergencies.
- Train and brief team members on their roles or actions expected from them in an incident.
- Seek information related to the changing health care system in DRC and ensure Mercy Corps planning is utilizing the best resources available for national and expatriate staff based on understanding of the agency insurance and medical evacuation policies.
- Undertake coordination calls with Mercy Corps human resource department, as needed for a proactive approach to ensuring field realties are in sync with headquarters planning.
- Update the HR & Admin Manager and Emergency Director with any major shifts to our safety strategy or perceived risk level in DRC with country management.
- Support program design in public health messaging with knowledge of the environment and available services in-country.
- Be supportive and creative in this process with an understanding of Mercy Corps and partner capabilities and risk thresholds.
- Develop and maintain an understanding of the health services and limitations in country.
- Able to advise or treat team members with basic, non-clinical health needs and in consultation with ISOS as needed.
- Provide new team members or short-term deployments prior to travel with orientation.
- Provide support to for awareness materials within the agency and for internal use.
- Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
- Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.
- Ensure compliance with security procedure in line with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) to minimize risk upon staff.
- As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
Accountability to Beneficiaries
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Reports Directly To: HR & Admin Manager
Works Directly With: Field-based security, logistics and finance teams, HQ-based Program Operations, Finance, and Technical Support Unit (TSU) staff, (Humanitarian Leadership Response) HLR team, other agencies as assigned.
Knowledge and Experience
- Masters in Public Health
- 5- 7 years of demonstrated experience in workplace safety
Experience in effective hands-on training and skills transfer
Complete first aid courses and able treat team members with basic health needs
Extensive experience in setting up and managing safety and security systems and protocols and provide training to team members and partners.
Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work cooperatively with team members.
Proven ability to work and solve problems independently without direct supervision.
Experience living and working in West or Central Africa, preferred.
- Excellent oral and written English and French skills required.
- Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
- Knowledge of Sphere standards and other training in humanitarian response preferred.
A successful candidate will leave a well-trained with awareness of EBV, its symptoms, transmission and effective prevention measures. The office will be diligent in owning and self-monitoring a diligence in adhering to hygiene practices and are informed in a manner that this is transferred to their own homes and through program activities. A successful candidate will understand the importance of our operations in Liberia and –with a caution against undo risk taking – will have the patience and focus to facilitate the safe implementation of program activities.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
This position is an unaccompanied position. Shared housing will be provided in Goma according to Mercy Corps DRC housing policy. Goma is a provincial capital of over 800,000 inhabitants. Travel may be required up to 40% of the time to program areas within North and South Kivu and Ituri provinces. Living in Goma is comfortable, although water and electricity can be unstable. Outside Goma, travel can be dangerous and unpredictable due to armed forces and rebel activity.
While security is quite stable in Goma, North and South Kivu continue to be an arena of violence and insecurity. Mercy Corps' sub-offices experience variable levels of insecurity, with the situation closely monitored by UN peacekeepers. Air travel is necessary to get from one end of the country to the other. Mobile phones and cellular service are widely available. Internet is available in all Mercy Corps offices. Travel to field sites will be required where living conditions are clean and secure, but basic. There are a number of health services available with evacuation options for serious illnesses. There is reasonable access to most consumer goods, although they can be expensive.
Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues. Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.