Thinking of a Career in Emergency Management?
- BY Nicole Pelette
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.
Created in 1999, the Access Campaign (AC) is an MSF Campaign entity guided by MSF’s charter, and dedicated to serve MSF’s social mission. Deeply rooted in MSF’s medical operations, the AC works to tackle barriers to people’s access to medical care, ensuring that quality products such as medicines, vaccines and diagnostics are available, affordable and adapted to people in MSF projects and beyond, now and for the future. The AC is hosted by MSF International, the legal entity that binds MSF’s 21 sections, 25 associations and other offices together. Based in Geneva, MSF International provides coordination, information and support to the MSF movement, and implements international projects and initiatives as requested.
Vaccines are a major area of operational and policy work for MSF and the AC. Much of the focus in recent years has been MSF’s role in epidemic response, support for improvement of routine immunization, access to new vaccines, and adaptability of vaccines to the types of low-resource contexts where MSF works.
The MSF AC’s Vaccines team works on the medical and policy analysis and advocacy issues pertaining to access to new and existing vaccines, and helps to address the main access constraints confronted by MSF in the field. As the Access Campaign’s multidisciplinary vaccines team (which includes policy, advocacy and regulatory expertise) addresses these underlying technical and political barriers, the medical advisor position requires a technical, strategic and political understanding of the barriers and opportunities relevant to its medical priorities.
The Access Campaign will invest more to follow the landscape of vaccine development and respond to demands from MSF in implementing access-supported programming: access to new vaccines, advocacy for more adapted vaccines and vaccine delivery technologies/models. There is a need to build the capacity of the vaccines dossier by further engaging with external experts on vaccine and vaccine technologies development and supporting MSF’s use of new vaccine tools in our operations.
OBJECTIVES OF THE POSITION
The Vaccines Medical Advisor position provides the clinical/medical/technical expertise, working with the cross-disciplinary team of policy, pharmacist, advocacy and communications experts that are based in a few countries around the world. The vaccine medical advisor also plays a significant role in strategy development, reporting/publications, pipeline analysis and representation. The position will engage with vaccine and vaccine technology developers, many of which are based in the US.
The medical advisor must remain current with the clinical and operational challenges faced by MSF in its programs and, linking that with an analysis of the upstream tool research and development landscape, health policy environment (normative, economic and donor), work with the wider team to support development of targeted advocacy priorities for the areas s/he is asked to focus upon ensuring the AC strategies and advocacy positions are medically and scientifically sound. While the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, the medical advisor will provide support to the Access Campaign’s COVID-19 vaccine access-related work, including acting as the medical referent for all advocacy and public-facing campaigns to improve access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The core responsibilities of the position are to:
PLACE IN THE ORGANISATION
Provide medical and scientific guidance to AC’s work on vaccines
Support availability of new vaccines and better adapted vaccine products
Provide direct operational advocacy support
Provide the clinical/scientific analysis that underscores programmatic and operations-based messaging, and contribute to building and implementing advocacy strategies to influence global health institutions