Position: Infection Prevention Control (IPC) Specialist
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive, recover and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. The IRC leads the way from harm to home.
The IRC’s vision is that the impact of our programs and the influence of our ideas empowers those caught in crisis to make lasting change in their lives. To support achievement of this vision, the IRC’s Technical Excellence (TE) unit provides technical assistance to IRC’s country program staff and shares what we learn to influence policy and practice. The TE unit supports technical excellence through the following ways:
- Guide program design to achieve outcomes by incorporating the best available evidence
- Build technical capacity of country program staff to implement, measure and continuously improve programs
- Influence the IRC, peer agencies and donors to use proven interventions and generate new evidence to achieve change in peoples’ lives
In 2022 the health technical unit supported programming in 6 regions and 34 countries.
Job Overview / Summary:
Sustaining IPC improvements in IRC’s supported health facilities is a major component of IRC’s Quality Improvement framework, prioritized by IRC through a global monitoring process that was developed in 2020. The IPC Specialist collaborates with others within IRC to ensure IPC improvements are rigorously assessed, gaps clearly identified, improvements made as well as monitored in all countries where IRC health programing occurs. This role provides strategic leadership for IRC’s IPC and Systems strengthening work – focused on IPC resilience, working closely with Health, EH and Nutrition Advisors and Senior Advisors, the HU MEAL team and the Measurement Unit.
The Global IPC Specialist will deliver technical assistance in-person and remotely to country programs in collaboration with the country facing Technical Advisors (TAs) in countries participating in the global IPC in Health Facility Project, focusing on program quality and ensuring that activities involved in medical service delivery meet and maintain internationally recognized IPC measures in targeted health facilities including mobile medical units where indicated to strengthening IPC preparedness and response to outbreaks.
This position will sit under the Primary Health Care team within the Health Unit and work in close collaboration with HU Director- country Support, STAs for Health, Environmental Health (EH)/Governance, emergency health & MEAL, as well as with Health/EH/Nutrition TAs, country Deputy Directors of Program (DDPs), Health Coordinators and Grant Coordinators, and regional leadership.
The IPC specialist will also be responsible for representation, influence, advocacy and business development at the discretion of their supervisor. The IPC Specialist’s specific responsibilities are as follows:
Supporting the implementation of the quality improvement framework with a focus on sustaining IPC improvements:
- Close collaboration with the STA Health to ensure that all roles and responsibilities of IPC implementation in participating countries are clear, understood and are being implemented in a timely manner, within the quality improvement framework.
- Close collaboration with the STA EH to ensure that IPC WASH support needs are clearly identified and resourced appropriately
- Support the Health Unit MEAL team and collaborate with the Measurement Unit, when required, on updating IPC data visualization on Power BI as well as any recommended changes to be made with the IPC CommCare Applications.
- Collaborate with the Health Unit MEAL team on the most suitable core IPC indicators, including special emphasis on WASH indicators to be included in IPC analysis reports.
- In close collaboration with country facing Health TAs ensure IPC assessment reports and progress are in line with required IPC outcomes, taking full responsibility on leading in IPC core indicator reporting.
- Work with country facing Health TAs to set up coordination meetings on IPC assessment results in their focus countries and fully support the Country Program (CP) and Health TAs in development of country specific action plans. This will incorporate, but not be limited to, inclusion of country facing Environmental Health TAs, Grant coordinators and DDPs
- Collaborate with the System strengthening STA and the HSS specialist to update and implement the IPC resilience framework across the relevant settings
- Chair the IPC Working Group ensuring recording of minutes, agendas as well as progress with Action Points raised during these meetings.
Supporting program design:
- In full collaboration with STA Health and the STA EH, update Health Facility Prioritization guidelines for CPs and support Health TAs to roll out to target country programs.
- In coordination with Health TAs review and analyze country specific IPC assessment results and provide guidance to incorporate recommendations in ongoing or new Business Development opportunities.
- Collaborate with EH TAs to support design of WASH IPC solutions and activities with their Health counterparts, ensuring activities are in line with international WASH standards for IPC. In countries with no EH programming, work with STA EH and Health TAs to find solutions to embed appropriate EH support in-country.
Engaging in strategic business development:
- Review technical quality of TU-led proposals (Technical Unit), including review of technical activities and ensuring alignment to IRC’s IPC outcomes.
- Input into go / no go decisions on HU-led proposals (Health Unit).
- Provide guidance on budgets required for all aspects of IPC service delivery – this may include but not be limited to conducting regular reviews of IRCs web-based grant award management portal (OTIS) to advocate and lobby country programs to ensure IPC is budgeted for in all new business development.
- In coordination with HU Comms team, the Awards Management Unit and IRC private fundraising teams update and produce IPC briefing papers and concept notes for private and public funding opportunities
Building technical capacity of health TAs and country program staff – when relevant – to ensure ongoing program quality and innovation:
- Work with health TAs to support country program teams analyze IPC PowerBI data that inform corrective solutions- needed.
- Participate in ongoing training courses and share knowledge and skill sets within the unit.
- Share cross-context learning with country program staff participating in the Global IPC project.
- Conduct technical training and ongoing technical coaching on IPC for country program staff when needed.
- Roll out of IRC’s WASH in Health Facilities Process Guide,
- Through active participation in HU M&E research programs lead in rolling out all relevant IPC Lessons Learnt to target countries in coordination with Health TAs
- Actively update health TAs and country programs on new best practices around IPC in Health Facilities and support with inclusion in all IPC activities
Influencing the IRC, peer agencies and donors to use proven interventions and generate new evidence:
- Lead on the global analysis, the development and sharing of learning and communicating IPC documented lessons and findings internally, across contexts and externally in relevant conferences.
- Lobby Regions and Country program SMTs (Senior Management Teams) for inclusion of IPC dedicated staff in Health organograms and budgets.
- Actively participate in global workstreams such as the WHO IPC working group,
- Fully engage with global and regional partners like Africa CDC, ICAN, etc.
Skills, Knowledge, and Qualifications
- Master’s/post-graduate degree in public health, nursing and/or environmental health (WASH) or relevant field or equivalent combination of education and experience is required.
- Demonstrated expertise in program design, monitoring and evaluation, with the ability to turn concepts and strategy into measurable action.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills.
- Demonstrated commitment to renewing and maintaining currency with best practices.
- Fluency in English, knowledge of French/Arabic would be an added advantage.
- A minimum of 6-8 years of professional experience in implementing and/or managing Infection Prevention and Control programs in health facility settings is required, preferably also within a humanitarian and/or international development contexts.
- Experience implementing behavior change communication programs and supporting health system strengthening approaches
- Experience in technical tools and materials development, monitoring and evaluation, and research in relation to IPC is highly desired.
- A broad understanding/knowledge of technical water, sanitation and hygiene in health settings is highly desired
- Experience in strategy development and working across sectors or disciplines is highly desired.
- Experience providing remote technical support to program teams is important.
Working Environment: “Standard office work environment” as per IRC policy. Regular travel will be expected to provide technical assistance to some country programs and monitor and improve quality of PHC teams’ technical assistance.
How to apply