Consultant in SMSPS and infectious diseases

Background

When major outbreaks occur, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are often on the front line, using their close ties to affected communities and their expertise to support outbreak preparedness and response. READY, an initiative funded by USAID’s Humanitarian Office and led by Save the Children and a consortium of partners, helps NGOs respond more effectively to major disease outbreaks in humanitarian settings. Through investments in a strong and diverse capacity building portfolio, sharing knowledge and best practices, and engaging with key coordination groups to identify and respond to real-time needs, READY provides national humanitarian NGOs and international organizations the knowledge and skills to be ready to respond to major disease outbreaks through integrated and community-centred approaches. READY’s approach is integrated and aims to bring together maternal, newborn and reproductive health, child protection, agriculture and food security, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), water, l sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition and cross-cutting issues. such as risk communication and community engagement and gender. For more information on READY, visit us at www.ready-initiative.org.

Emergencies are stressful, but stressors unique to infectious disease outbreaks affect people directly and indirectly. Fear, worry, uncertainty and stress can have long-term consequences within communities, families and vulnerable individuals. Frontline workers (including nurses, doctors, paramedics, case identifiers and others) may experience additional stressors during an outbreak. Social stigma and discrimination can be associated with infectious disease outbreaks, including towards people who have been infected, their family members, and healthcare providers and other frontline workers.

The IASC guidelines for MHPSS in emergencies recommend that multiple levels of interventions be integrated into outbreak response activities. These levels correspond to a range of mental health and psychosocial needs and are represented in a pyramid of interventions ranging from the integration of social and cultural considerations into basic services to the provision of specialized services for people with more serious illnesses. .

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in responding to infectious disease outbreaks. In its rapid assessment of the impacts of COVID-19 on MHPSS services around the world, the World Health Organization stated that “the inclusion of MHPSS is an integral part of responses to public health emergencies”.

Currently, several documents related to MHPSS in infectious disease outbreaks are available for humanitarian agencies, INGOs and local NGOs. These documents focus on specific infectious disease outbreaks, such as Ebola, neglected tropical diseases and/or COVID-19. However, a more comprehensive and targeted mapping of MHPSS resources available to respond to infectious disease outbreaks is needed. Therefore, READY will conduct a global mapping (desk review and consultations) of available inter-agency and other relevant MHPSS resources and gaps, particularly in MHPSS programming during infectious disease outbreaks, and develop a report identifying findings, major gaps and making recommendations on how best to fill them. Based on the report, READY will consider responding to one or more of the recommendations, focusing on specific guidance for outbreak situations.

II. Council objectives

• Using a desk review and consultative process that involves key stakeholders in MHPSS, humanitarian and infectious disease preparedness and response, develop a report with key findings, gaps and recommendations for MHPSS Preparedness and Response for Infectious Disease Outbreak Response in Humanitarian Settings which reflects links to the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings.

• The desk review will focus on collecting available inter-agency resources and other relevant global and regional/national MHPSS resources with an additional focus on infectious disease outbreak preparedness and response through online searches , existing resource libraries, etc.

• The consultative process will seek to gather information on existing gaps and recommendations from key global technical and programmatic forums and experts working with them, such as the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) MHPSS Reference Group and its relevant working groups , representatives of relevant global humanitarian organizations. agencies and organizations such as Save the Children and others.

III. Tasks

• Develop a detailed work plan and timeline for the proposed activity, including review periods at key milestones for READY and donor representatives and infectious disease outbreak response in humanitarian settings

• Conduct and analyze consultative interviews with key informants from the IASC MHPSS Reference Group, WHO, Global Health Cluster, UNICEF, MSF, Save the Children, other national and international MHPSS NGOs and emergency response experts to inform content and develop a process for reporting gaps and recommendations.

• Participate in regular consultation and oversight meetings with the READY MHPSS Technical Advisor and other relevant individuals throughout the process.

Draft report outline with key findings, gaps and recommendations for review with READY MHPSS TA and other relevant technical colleagues as appropriate.

• Based on the finalized plan, draft the report with key findings, gaps and recommendations and review with READY MHPSS TA and other relevant technical colleagues as appropriate.

• Revise and finalize report with key findings, gaps and recommendations based on feedback

• Develop a PPT presentation of the process, key results and recommendations IV. Deliverables

• Detailed work plan including timeline, milestone, etc.

• Develop a key informant interview guide for the consultations

• Documentation of consultation results

• Draft report outline with key findings, gaps and recommendations for MHPSS in infectious disease outbreaks (epidemics and pandemics)

• Final report with key findings, gaps and recommendations for MHPSS in infectious disease outbreaks (epidemics and pandemics)

• Develop a presentation summarizing findings, gaps and recommendations.

• Support report dissemination and presentation through meetings/webinars with READY MHPSS Technical Advisor and other colleagues as appropriate

V. Qualifications required

• Expertise and experience in global research on mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in the development or humanitarian sector (preferably both)

• Experience of engaging with key stakeholder groups and coordination mechanisms such as the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), WHO and relevant global and national INGOs on MHPSS in humanitarian, public health and preferably epidemic preparedness and response

• Knowledge of the humanitarian response architecture and response priorities

• Excellent oral and written English skills

• Skills in using online platforms for consultations

• Academic and/or technical background in social sciences, mental health or MHPSS in humanitarian settings is essential

• A master’s degree in social sciences, mental health or similar degree is a minimum

How to register

Please submit your CV and cover letter to Fasika Gebru, READY Senior Associate, at [email protected], detailing how you would approach this assignment (max. 2 pages) and your daily rate by September 30, 2022

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