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Field Epidemiology Advisor

To join the Epidemiology Advisor Team as part of LuxOR, the Operational Centre Brussels Medical Department and the Abidjan Medical Hub (based in Abidjan, optional family duty station) One year Contract (with possibility of extension) – Full time position


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides aid in more than 70 countries to populations in distress, to victims of natural or manmade disasters and to victims of armed conflicts, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, creed, or political affiliation.

MSF Luxembourg is a historical partner section of the MSF movement created in 1986. With 35 staff members, the section’s team works to raise awareness on humanitarian issues among Luxembourg’s population, raise funds needed to finance humanitarian interventions, supports MSF volunteers who go into the field and carry out operational research projects directly linked to health programs to help improve their efficiency and effectiveness.

Nine MSF partner sections (Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, South Africa and Sweden) and the Lebanon Branch Office, make up the Operational Centre Brussels (OCB).

The OCB Medical Department is a network of units, the Brussels Medical Unit (BRUMED in Brussels), the Southern African Medical Unit (SAMU) in Cape Town, the Luxembourg Operational Research unit (LuxOR) in Luxembourg, the Middle East Medical Unit (MEMU) in Beirut and the Brazilian Medical Unit (BRAMU) in Latin America.

The LuxOR was founded in 2009 and is a part of the MSF-OCB Medical Department. Operational Research helps MSF take an in-depth look at its programs and operations, evaluates what is working well, and shows what can and needs to be improved. Since 2019, LuxOR took up the support and a coordination role for the different epidemiology advisors and field epidemiologists as well, providing technical support, guidance and advice to the field-epidemiologists in the different OCB missions.

The OCB Abidjan Medical hub is currently being established in Ivory Coast. The Epi advisor position advertised here will be functionally embedded in the medical team of Operational Cell 2 (i.e., cell overseeing operations in Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Benin), but physically hosted in the newly established Abidjan Medical Hub. The position will be working in close collaboration with the other medical positions hosted in this hub (currently Environmental Health and Health Promotion).

More information can be found on the LuxOR website


  • The LuxOR Director is the overall medical department reference person regarding guiding global policy and strategic aspects of operational research and the routine epidemiology advisor support structure in OCB and provides overall strategic guidance and management to team members. The Epidemiology advisor will report to the LuxOR Director and Medical Deputy CO of Operational Cell 2.
  • The LuxOR Coordinator is co-responsible for team management, research system support, OR coordination and budget. She is also responsible for day-to-day linkage between LuxOR, Operations and the Medical Department in Brussels.
  • The LuxOR team consist of field epidemiology advisors, operational research advisors, a policy and practice advisor, and a medical editor. Staff is based in different locations based in different countries/MSF-OCB medical units, there is no hierarchical link between positions. 
  • The Field Epidemiology Advisors in OCB (Epi Advisors) have a close interaction with LuxOR team members, Ariadne (E-health) advisors, and other Epi advisors who are based in Belgium, Luxembourg, Lebanon, South Africa and Brazil, as well as with Epi Advisors from other MSF Operational Centres.


The Epi Advisor will be embedded in the medical team of operational cell 2 and will provide direct support to missions and projects, as well as direct day-to-day support to field-epidemiologists embedded inside the missions. The Epi advisor is expected to dedicate 80% of their time directly to operational support and work 20% on transversal subjects within the epidemiology portfolio. 

In more detail, the epidemiology advisor will contribute to the following aspects: 

  1. Support to the operations at field and headquarter level (Field Epidemiologists, data managers, medical teams, operational cell, medical department)
    1. At field level in Cell countries:
      • Provide direct technical support and mentoring to the field epidemiologists (or in absence of an epidemiologists, to the team member assuring coordination/follow up of data monitoring and epi activities, including medcos and/or PMRs) in the areas of alerts and surveillance, project/activity monitoring, outbreak investigation, assessments, surveys, statistics and analysis, reporting, use and validation of tools, software packages, etc.
      • Support projects, jointly with the Ariadne (E-health Unit) on the process of implementation of Routine Surveillance and monitoring
      • Link the Epi/data team with the different Epidemiology or OR Advisors, Ariadne (E-health Unit), GIS, and other experts inside and outside the MSF-OCB Medical Department
      • Perform briefings and debriefings of field epidemiologists and other relevant profiles (e.g., MedCo, Deputy MedCo, PMR, Field coordinator, etc) 
      • Perform matching of IMS field epidemiologists and support in the recruitment of LHS field epidemiologists (and Data Managers if necessary)
      • Explore, develop and organize training and capacity building activities for epi/data teams
      • Conduct Field visits to selected projects to support and better understand the needs of the field epidemiologists. This also includes the support of emergency projects of the cell. Field trips can take up to 40 % of working time.
    2. For the field – OCB wide:
      • Knowledge management: contribute to an organized library of technical documentation such as guidelines, protocols, appropriate tools and to make them accessible to epidemiologists in the field (together with the LuxOR Process Coordinator and Internal knowledge management support/focal point(s) of OCB-Medical)
      • Participate in the coordination of the community of practice and the organization of the annual MSF movement wide Epi-Week
    3. At headquarter/Regional level:

   Cell support

  • Actively engage with the members of the Cell, actively participate in the team meetings, Quarterly Monitoring Meetings, AROs, etc., and closely collaborate with the medical members of the Cell
  • Provide strategic input during the life cycle of projects.
  • Provide a regional overview on the epidemiology of epidemic-prone diseases,  nutrition situation or other relevant information, etc. 
  • Perform horizon scanning and give advice regarding epidemic-prone diseases, nutrition, etc. in the supported countries and in the region. 

Medical department

  • Actively collaborate with other Headquarter epidemiologists, Units (e.g. Ariadne/E-health unit, GIS) and referents (e.g. malaria, health promotion, environmental health, vaccinations, nutrition, mental health, etc.) in their activities including in training and provision of epidemiological input
  • Participate in relevant Circles and meetings of the MSF-OCB Medical Department (e.g., Epi Circle, Outbreak Circle etc.)
  • Participate in LuxOR’s team meetings, retreats and other relevant activities.
  • Actively collaborate with the Epidemiology Advisors of other MSF Operational Centres, Epicentre or others; and participate in regular meetings, training activities and collaborative projects


  1. Support the implementation and evaluation of the MSF-OCB Epidemiology support structure.
    • Contribute to the ongoing implementation of the  OCB Epidemiology support model
    • Collaborate with the other Epi Advisors and relevant units (in BRAMU, MEMU, Emergency Unit and LuxOR) in developing the strategy on a broader Public Health Intelligence Framework within MSF-OCB.
    • Contribute to the evaluation and improvement of the epidemiology support structure in MSF-OCB


  1. Support operational research (OR) activities

Work closely with the Operational Research advisors in the LuxOR, SAMU and other OCB researchers on:

  • Supporting operations, projects and the medical department to define and prioritize the operational research and documentation agenda.
  • During field visits to selected projects support research, discuss research agendas and provide general operational support if needed and relevant.
  • Support the OR project cycle: operational research concept notes, study protocols, advanced data analysis, editorial and manuscript writing, dissemination of research findings (publications and presentations)
  • Be involved with setting up capacity building sessions on operational research (e.g. SORT-IT courses)


  • Medical or paramedical profile is a prerequisite:
    • Formal postgraduate training in Epidemiology
      • This can include an Advanced Field Epidemiology Training Programme or in Public Health with specific training and practical competence in epidemiology and medical statistics. 
  • Extensive field experience as an epidemiologist in MSF or another (emergency) medical organisation with a humanitarian profile, including having worked in emergency settings.
  • Experience in performing public health explorations and assessments.
  • Experience in outbreak investigation, setting and running surveillance systems, design and implementation of surveys.
  • Experience in protocol writing and use of different quantitative study designs
  • Strong skills in analytical methods and data analysis and visualisation including the use of statistical software (EpiInfo and Excel as a bare minimum, R and STATA highly valued). 
  • Knowledge of other health information software (HIS e.g. DHIS2) and GIS software suites (e.g. ArcGIS or QGIS are an advantage
  • Familiarity with the literature review methods on different topics related to the operational priorities (infectious diseases and outbreaks, nutrition, environmental health, migration, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, etc.)
  • Understanding of qualitative and mixed-methods study designs are an asset. 
  • Spoken and written French is essential. Very high level of spoken English and scientific writing skills 


  • A high degree of initiative and work autonomy, team interaction and diplomacy are required to be able to interact at various levels within the department, within and outside MSF
  • Ability to adapt to changing circumstances, contexts, tasks, responsibilities and people.
  • Willingness and ability to function in a team, transparent communication with colleagues, willingness to share work and experiences, give and ask support when needed
  • Solid scientific rigor and honesty, transparency, attention to detail
  • Ability to handle multiple projects or activities simultaneously, and to deliver quality outputs within deadlines
  • Proactivity and leadership capacity to drive operational epidemiological activities 
  • Flexibility for regular travel (up to 40% of working time), possibly at short notice.  Ability and willingness to spend time in often difficult and unstable contexts.
  • Adhere to the MSF principles and to our managerial values: Respect, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, Trust and Empowerment
  • Adhere to the MSF Behavioral Commitments


  • One year contract with probationary period and possibility of extension – Full time 
  • Based in Abidjan within the newly established OCB medical hub for at least the 1st year of contract.
  • This can be a family duty station
  • Salary according to MSF-OCB Field grid
  • The contractual terms, conditions and salary will be established according to the official residence of the selected candidate and in compliance with the standard MSF function and salary grids.
  • Contract start date: May 2024 

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