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Country Health Director

Job opportunity

Country Health Director

Location : Goma

Closing date: 23rd December 2013



      I.        Details


Responsible To: Country Director and technically the Health Advisor Responsible for: Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Coordinator and technically for Health Coordinators and Field Medical Coordinators Works With: All Merlin DRC Staff and partners (e.g., Government of DRC, Ministries, Donors, UN agencies, National NGOs and communities) Location: Goma, DRC, with frequent trips to the field sites. Starting Date: December 2013 Contract Duration: 5 months (Until 30th April 2014)
Salary: £43,600 - £44,350 per annum (dependant on relevant experience), Inclusive of annual Cost of Living Allowance
Benefits: Insurance cover, accommodation, annual leave entitlement of 24 days per annum rising to 30 days at the completion of 12 months of continuous employment with Merlin.

Only short-listed applicants will be contacted. Due to the urgency of this position, applications will be short listed on a regular basis and we may offer this post before the closing date.

Please note that this is an unaccompanied position.

    II.        Context

Merlin International Profile Merlin is an international health charity, saving lives in the world’s toughest places. Merlin responds with healthcare, when people are overwhelmed by natural disaster, conflict or disease and in need of immediate help. We focus on treating those who are beyond the reach of existing health services. After the immediate crisis, Merlin stays on to assist recovery. Using our expertise, we support health workers and strengthen existing health services. We build resilience by helping those at risk of future health disasters, to be better prepared.

We think everyone should have access to lasting healthcare. We believe good health is fundamental to transforming people’s lives, that’s why Merlin is A Force for Health As of 16 July, Merlin is joining Save the Children to create a world-class humanitarian health force for children and their families living in some of the toughest places in the world. By combining Merlin’s unique network of frontline health workers with Save the Children’s life-saving work in over 120 countries, more children affected by disaster or conflict will be reached.

Both organizations are really excited by this opportunity to dramatically increase our reach and impact for children and their families.

For those teams transferring as part of this plan, our expectation is that there will be a phased transition of Merlin’s overseas programme operations and head office teams to Save the Children, which we are aiming to complete within 18 months. During this time Merlin’s life-saving work for children and their families around the world will continue

Context and Background The Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest country in Africa and one of the poorest. Decades of dictatorship and civil war have left much of the national infrastructure destroyed. Merlin has been working in DRC since 1997, providing emergency medical assistance to refugees and IDPs in Maniema, Kasai Oriental, North Kivu and Orientale Provinces. Activities have included emergency response, support to primary and secondary health care facilities, reproductive health, institutional capacity building, immunization campaigns, nutrition, WASH, and the rehabilitation of health facilities.

The conflict in Nord Kivu, although it ended officially in 2009, has continued between various militant groups in the province even after the peace accord signed between the FARDC and the CNDP in 2009. For this reason, and as identified in the Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP) 2012, Nord Kivu remains a priority province for humanitarian responses and for Merlin. There has been a significant decline in the security and humanitarian situation since March 2012, which has had significant impact on population movement. In North Kivu, Merlin aims to enhance access to quality healthcare services for its population with a strong focus on ensuring emergency health services for IDPs. By 2015 Merlin ambitions to have reached 1,024,753 individuals with quality health services and 96,106 women of reproductive age will have used a modern method of family planning. Today, Merlin team is composed of 18 international staff and approximately 200 national staff. Merlin currently supports the MoH in six health zones (HZ) in North Kivu Province: In Petit Nord (Rutshuru, Binza, Mweso and Birambizo HZs), and Grand Nord (Alimbongo and Kayna HZs) and runs an emergency response team that can be deployed anywhere in the Province. In North Kivu, Merlin is currently financed by OFDA, UNICEF, ERF, ECHO, a private foundation, and SIDA which represents a budget of approx. £6 million for 2013. Merlin also co-leads the Health Cluster in North Kivu, housing the Health Cluster Assistant dedicated to improving the quality of information sharing and management within the cluster. In this role Merlin works to harmonise relationships and health interventions between UN agencies, the Ministry of Health and local and international NGOs working in the area of health.

   III.        Main purpose of the role

The main purpose of the role is to provide technical leadership and guidance to Merlin’s health programme in DRC order to successfully realize the goals and objectives of Merlin’s country strategy. The role should also ensure and facilitate the full inclusion of the Ministry of Health within the design, planning and implementation of programming. This role will play a key role in the successful progress of the activities in North Kivu province.

Overall Objectives (scope) Will be to :

-        Provide technical leadership and management to the programme in DRC ;

-        Ensure effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Merlin health programming in line with approved program proposals and budgets ;

-        Contribute to the overall planning and strategic direction of Merlin’s program in DRC.;

-        Provide technical support to Merlin’s health staff and their MoH counterparts. ;

-        Represent Merlin to national authorities, international donors, international organizations and other NGOs at Country and National level.


Responsibilities Programme Development/ Management :

-        Responsible for technical programme quality in all project sites, covering the hospital, the HGRs, the Centre de Santé and the community level work in collaboration with the Country Director ;

-        Monitor the health and humanitarian situation in the province and advise the Country Director and London based staff, on appropriate course(s) of action ;

-        Coordinate/undertake needs assessment in line with evolving humanitarian priorities in coordination with Country Management Team, Health Advisor and Regional Desk and formulate future plans for possible programme extension ;

-        In collaboration with the Country Director develop and implement Country strategic plan in close consultation and coordination with the other members of Country ;

-        Management Team (CMT) HQ based Health Advisor; Health Coordinators and Field Medical Coordinators and National authorities ;

-        Support in preparing accurate and timely funding proposals in collaboration with CMT, relevant field teams and Health Advisor ;

-        Support Country Director in designing, drafting and negotiating new funding programmes with the representatives of existing and new donors ;

-        Ensure that programmes are implemented according to National Merlin policies and recognized international standards with appropriate monitoring and evaluation plan ;

-        Provide technical specifications, quantities and quality control for medical supplies in collaboration with the Country Logistics Manager ;

-        Enhance technical and health management skills of national health staff through ensuring the provision of formal & informal training in conjunction with project medical staff ;

-        Ensure that appropriate medical protocols and data collection forms are available in all project sites and designed in collaboration with Country MoH representatives, and ensure the team is fully conversant with and trained in their use ;

-        Liaise closely with the Merlin London Health Department on policy/strategy development when required ;

-        Support the capacity building of the Ministry of health at Country and zonal levels though the development of appropriate training plans in collaboration with the MOH.



-        Ensure the effective implementation and quality of projects, i.e. provide overall technical supervision for the programme in DRC in co-ordination with relevant medical personnel ;

-        Actively support the development and implementation of a coherent Programme strategy that contributes to national, international and Merlin’s aims in collaboration with the operational field staff and technical teams ;

-        Coordinate and technically manage the overall planning and direction of Merlin's health activities ;

-        Ensure effective communication with and information exchange between the medical team members and the Country Management Team (CMT) ;

-        Play a leading role in the promotion of a shared vision among all of Merlin's programme staff and their role in achieving these ;

-        Maintain constructive working relationships with MoH counterparts and senior members of the BZC in the zones of operation.


Monitoring and Evaluation

-        In collaboration with M&E Coordinator provide technical support in designing and implementing Monitoring & Evaluation framework for Country program including qualitative and quantitative assessment for evidence-based programming and quality assurance ;

-        Conduct regular visits to project sites, at least quarterly to all project sites , for the purposes of monitoring, quality control and strengthening of relationship between Merlin field staff, the BCZ and other NGOs in the area ;

-        Submit monthly technical health reports to the health department in head office for monitoring of progress and any constraints ;

-        Ensure implementation of Merlin health information systems at Country level and provide support to Merlin partners in operating of health information systems in all Merlin sites ;

-        Monitor consumption of medicines and other medical supplies in all field sites through field Medical staff to ensure that orders are in line with consumption and predict and prevent stock ruptures ;

-        Strengthen the use of, and/or develop a monitoring and evaluation tool for field sites, in collaboration with field staff, M&E Coordinator ;

-        In collaboration with M&E Coordinator support training of all relevant expatriate and senior national staff on the monitoring and evaluation tool, as agreed with CMT.


-        Represent Merlin’s programmes to the MoH, UN agencies and (I)NGOs and Donors at Goma and Kinshasa level when appropriate ;

-        Co-ordination and representation with the BCZS & BIP at district and Country level to ensure all project activities are carried out with their agreement and, ensure their full participation ;

-        Represent and provide technical expertise and input on behalf of Merlin at consortium (partner) meetings and workshops when required ;

-        Contribute towards the dissemination of Merlin's work through publications (general, health sector, academic) in consultation with the field technical teams, the London Health Department and the London Communication Department ;

-        Advocate at Country and national level/ cluster meetings for adequate responses towards unmet health needs policy review and formulation ;

-        Ensure all relevant parties are kept informed on Merlin activities as appropriate.

Human Resources

Provide supervision, direction and coaching/mentoring to Health Coordinators, Field Medical officers, and Monitoring & Evaluation Coordinator and other health staff working in the province.


Play an active role in the recruitment of health staff in coordination with the Country Director, the Merlin London HR Department

-        Support Project Coordinators and field medical staff in the recruitment of qualified health personnel in the Merlin-supported health facilities ;

-        Ensure briefings, appraisals and debriefings of medical staff ;

-        In collaboration with the HR Department, identify training needs and coordinate training for both expatriate and national health staff ;

-        Enhance the technical and health management skills of international and national health staff through formal & informal training ;

-        Responsible for staff health care in general and in particular for international staff, following Merlin health policy ;

-        Update medical evacuation guidelines for international staff and being a focal person in DRC for organizing medical evacuation in coordination with CMT, Health Advisor, London HR and Merlin’s Insurance agency ;

-        Ensure appropriate health briefings for all new staff, consultants and visitors and provide staff health services as and when required.



-        As a member of the Country Management Team play an active role in ensuring that security guidelines are implemented and followed up.



-        Support in drafting monthly reports (for organisational use) and periodic reports to donors in collaboration with field teams, CMT and regional desk ;

-        Ensure that communication/updates to MoH and other health partners are timely and accurate ;

-        Submit monthly health technical sitrep to head office on timely basis


-        Maintain good inter-team communications, cultivate good team dynamics, and take suitable action to predict and manage challenges when they occur ;

-        Provide coverage for other positions when necessary and carry out any other responsibilities as requested by the Country Director/ London Health Advisor.


  IV.        Person Specification Essential Qualifications, experience and competences


-        Medical doctor or qualified nurse with Master in Public Health or equivalent degree ;

-        Extensive post qualification experience in managing public health services within developing countries ;

-        Previous experience in health programme management in emergency and transitional / development settings ;

-        Excellent interpersonal skills to motivate encourage medical team ;

-        Proven experience of Primary Health Care, Epidemiology, HIV and AIDS and Reproductive and child Health and prevention and control of communicable diseases ;

-        Understanding of health systems strengthening especially in the context of a developing country ;

-        Successful experience of representation at national, Country and local levels ;

-        Ability to write clear and concise funding proposals and donor reports ;

-        Substantial experience of training staff and a commitment to national and expatriate staff capacity development ;

-        Strong communication skills, with excellent written and spoken French and English ;

-        Confident and proficient in the use of MS Office HMIS and statistical package (Epi-Info, SPSS, STATA) ;

-        Experience of establishing strong working relationships with colleagues from different functions and cultures and an ability to work well with local authorities and other humanitarian actors ;

-        Experience of a flexible approach to managing and prioritizing a high workload and multiple tasks in a fast paced environment with tight deadlines ;

-        An understanding of health system strengthening, particularly health financing ;

-        An understanding of and commitment to Merlin’s mission and values.


    V.        Desirable Qualifications, experience and competences


-        Good knowledge of DRC Health System ;

-        Experience of working in the region ;

-        Previous experience in a post conflict environment or development ;

-        Experience in epidemiological data analysis, interpretation and qualitative/quantitative assessments and programme development

How to apply :

To apply for this position To apply for this job, please go to and apply using our online recruitment system. In order to apply for a job with Merlin online you will need to complete a short registration process and create an account – the online recruitment system explains how to do this. Once your account has been created, you will be able to save the information that you have entered in your application and re-visit it at any time before you submit it.

If you are unable to apply online for any technical reason, please contact :

Please note that we do not accept CVs. Unfortunately due to the number of applications we receive, only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.