Senior Covid Policy Advisor At Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

To date, Covid-19 has cost more than 4 million lives. High income countries are showing the incredible power that vaccinations have to save lives and allow economies to recover. But while countries such as the UK, Italy and the US have fully vaccinated around two thirds of adults, less than one per cent of people on the African continent have received one vaccine.

This is everyone’s concern. Until the whole world has been vaccinated no one is truly safe—we have seen repeatedly that Covid-19 does not respect borders.

Africa is losing the race to vaccinate: when vaccinations become available, logistical challenges, insufficient resources and vaccine hesitancy pose risks to their deployment in time or to populations that need it the most.

Turning this situation around is a priority for the Tony Blair Institute. We are supporting a number of African governments to:

  • improve national and local government coordination;
  • find, triage and ensure delivery of donor support;
  • operate a complete, secure and widely shared vaccine data collection and analysis system;
  • develop and implement a strategic communications plan to overcome fears and misinformation about the vaccines; and
  • help coordinate and deliver supplies of vaccines to where they are most needed.

This work could not be more important or urgent. Case numbers are rising rapidly on the African continent due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, but vaccine supply will begin to rise rapidly towards the end of the year.

We are creating a Africa Vaccine Programme (AVP) which will operate in at least five of our existing countries from September 2021 onwards, and our team will be made up of senior Delivery Advisors and those with targeted public health expertise.

We are seeking a talented individual to lead our Covid policy advice and advocacy work across Africa and serve as TBI’s expert on Covid in Africa.

The Senior Covid Policy Advisor will:

  • Lead TBI’s efforts to engage the global community, vaccine manufacturers and African governments to provide actionable policy advice that ensures as many vaccines as possible are administered as quickly as possible
  • Lead TBI’s policy work on Covid in Africa to assist our country teams and provide our Executive Chairman and others in the Institute with clear positions on the most salient issues facing a successful vaccine roll-out across the continent
  • Keep stock of Covid vaccine distribution, infection and vaccination rates, and other data as necessary to provide TBI and the AVP with a current picture of emerging trends, problems risks and opportunities
  • Lead the external communications relating to the programme, such as engaging the media, representing TBI at public fora, publishing blogs and articles in external publications
  • Engage with vaccine manufacturers and the distribution mechanisms to help ensure that vaccines reach the right places at the right time to avoid any wastage and to push for and deliver equity in supply
  • Develop TBI’s influence, profile and relevance with figures and institutions in the wider health ecosystem to steer global community to be more responsive to the needs of our partner governments

The post-holder will work closely with the Executive Chairman, the Africa Leadership Team, the Africa External Affairs and Policy Director, our Exernal Affairs team and others working on the COVID response outside of Africa and the Programme Manager of the Africa Vaccines Programme. They will lead a small team of analysts.

This is a 18 month fixed term role based in London, Accra or Nairobi.

Key Responsibilities

*­­­­­­­­­­­­­Developing high-quality advice and thought leadership*

· Lead TBI’s policy and thought leadership efforts on Covid in Africa, including on Covid vaccine access and rollout and on the wider implications for health systems and recovery

· Lead the Africa Covid policy team to conduct high-impact, tailored analysis and to regularly publish TBI’s various Africa Covid policy outputs to a high standard

· Support Africa country teams and their partner governments on specific aspects of their health response, providing them with timely, relevant insight on Covid development, vaccine strategy and overcoming blockages to vaccine roll-out

· Provide analysis, insight and briefings on Covid-19 in Africa to colleagues across the Institute including the Executive Chairman and external stakeholders

· Represent TBI in global fora on issues of Covid response, in particular Covid vaccine access; act as the spokesperson for the Institute on Covid-19 in Africa, coordinating closely with the Director of External Affairs and Policy for Africa

· Work with TBI’s Communications Team to develop a strategy to amplify TBI’s voice on critical elements of the current Covid debate and promote our thought leadership work

· Develop strong working relationships with the network of in-country teams to garner insights and ensure advice is rooted within contextual realities

· Collect relevant data on Covid spread and vaccine delivery from a variety of sources, analyse and contribute to sector strategies and policy studies. Prepare analysis to support country and programme strategies on vaccine rollout

· Create written documents and presentations of our findings and recommendations on vaccine rollout progress

Support the Africa Vaccine Programme

· In collaboration with the Programme Manager of the AVP and the Head of the Institutional Capacity Strengthening programme at the Africa CDC, support efforts to advocate on behalf of African governments to ensure they have adequate and fair vaccine access and a successful roll-out as the supply of doses rises

· Build relationships with senior stakeholders in the wider ecosystem (institutional and country level) to build TBI’s credibility and spot and develop opportunities, including for wider partnership working

· Build relationships and represent our partner governments in discussions with the main actors in the vaccine supply chain, including pharmaceutical companies and Covax

· Assist TBI’s country project teams, especially our Vaccine Delivery Advisors, with short assignments related to unanticipated government requirements, bespoke analysis and advice and informal support to help teams to provide the best possible advice to their government counterparts

Person Specification

This is a role in a fast-paced team working with different geographies in a complex policy area.

The successful candidate will need to demonstrate the following skills, knowledge and experience:

  • 5+ years’ experience in public health policy, pandemic management, public health programming or similar. Experience in an African context or in disease management, is strongly preferred
  • Success in leading a team to deliver a programme of policy-related work
  • The ability to engage a wider range of resources to solve policy problems and a knack of identifying opportunities for collaboration
  • A track record of successfully engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders, including at a high level (e.g. Head of State or Minister) and with principal-level stakeholders
  • Highly developed analytical skills that can be deployed in a range of contexts
  • Experience in policy development, delivering insights and thought leadership products
  • A proven ability to structure and solve complex policy problems
  • A clear and confident communicator, both written and spoken
  • Experience of effectively engaging with broadcast media is desirable

For applicants wishing to work in Nairobi, they must have the right to work in Kenya.

About The Institute

The Tony Blair Institute (TBI) is a mission-driven not for profit organisation. We exist to equip political leaders and governments to build open, inclusive and prosperous societies. We work hard, every day, to make a difference. When governments work well they are able to create economic and social change in a way that promotes fairness, social justice and opportunity. We work relentlessly to support leader and governments with the challenges they face. Giving them practical solutions and actionable insights, that once implemented, can be transformative for their people.

We do this within two connected divisions:

Government Advisory

Our Government Advisory teams work directly with political leaders and governments around the world to implement reforms that improve the lives of their citizens. It has both non-profit partners and a client base and its outputs cover a range of disciplines and projects across countries in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South Asia.

Policy Futures

Our Policy Futures work encompasses three broad areas:

· Renewing the Centre: developing a bold and innovative domestic policy programme to help renew the centre ground of British politics

· Tech and Public Policy: exploring the policy challenges and opportunities presented by the technological revolution

· Extremism Policy Unit: creating solutions designed to tackle the threat of extremist ideologies in the UK and around the world

As an organisation the core beliefs we all embrace are:

· Open and Progressive: you’ll believe in the value of teamwork

· Bold and Pragmatic: you’ll approach everything you do with integrity and authenticity

· Optimistic Changemakers: you’ll be focused on results

How to apply

Please apply on our careers page.

TBI believes embracing diversity and inclusion make us a better place to work. It’s our goal to reflect everyone in society and we actively welcome applications from individuals and groups who are under-represented in the workplace. We celebrate difference be it ethnicity, religion, age, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. We will only ever assess you on your abilities and fit for a role. We’re happy to discuss any adjustments you need to ensure a level playing field during recruitment and, if you\’re successful, discuss any adjustments you might need to thrive in your role.

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