armed conflict

armed conflict

  • Médecins Sans Frontières South Africa: Access Campaign Advocacy Officer

    Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
    Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
    Opportunity closing date: 
    Wednesday, November 21, 2012
    Opportunity type: 
    Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is an independent international medical humanitarian organisation. MSF delivers medical care to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters, or exclusion from health care in more than 60 countries.

    The Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines is an international MSF project launched in 1999 to improve access and stimulate development of adapted medical tools (medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and other health technologies) for resource-limited settings. 

    To support this work, MSF South Africa seeks to appoint an Access Campaign - South Africa Advocacy Officer.

    The Access Campaign - South Africa Advocacy Officer will customise international objectives for the international Access Campaign for South and Southern Africa. S/he will develop and execute an advocacy plan in conjunction with the Access Campaign internationally, key departments in South Africa, and other entities around the MSF network and externally. S/he will have strong engagement with civil society, government and other medical and research institutions.

    • Work with internal and external partners to lead campaigns. Currently MSF is working with the Treatment Action Campaign on “Fix the Patent Laws” (, which aims to ensure that TRIPS flexibilities are instituted within South African law. Initially this campaign will be a priority, especially with regards to ensuring that key medical examples are well documented, and that engagement with media, civil society, and government (particularly through a public comment process) continues;
    • Work with civil society, medical organisations, and governments from across Southern Africa on issues of intellectual property and access to medicines. A large part of this will include building a network of activists that are working on issues such as pre- and post grant patent oppositions, anti-counterfeiting legislation, and the Research & Development convention.
    • Give advocacy support to key operational priorities, in conjunction with other MSF advocacy, medical and operational professionals. These priorities include: MDR-TB (considering barriers to access to existing drugs, including regulatory and price issues and access to new drugs; expanding access to paediatric ARVs; and expanding access to 2nd and 3rd line ARVs (emphasis on cost).  There will also be regional support for work on ensuring continued scale-up of the HIV response, with a particular focus on international funding. Finally, there will be involvement with the international campaign team to address challenges in immunisation in sub-Saharan African countries;
    • Work with MSF colleagues in region who are addressing drug supply problems, including but not limited to stock outs;
    • Responsibility will include representation of MSF publically both at meetings and in public forums;
    • Coalition building is an important part of this work.
    • Undergraduate degree in sciences, public health, medical, social sciences or communication;
    • The ideal candidate should have extensive experience and knowledge of HIV/AIDS, TB and MDR-TB, and access to medicines issues such as: intellectual property, regulatory issues and pricing issues;
    • Experience working with civil society, government, and research institutions is key;
    • Minimum of two years experience working in a medical advocacy (or related) position;
    • Strong writing, analytical and communications skills. Experience in public speaking an asset;
    • Computer literacy;
    • Valid driver’s licence is essential;
    • Experience working in a medical organisation or a health background is a plus;
    • MSF operational experience is a strong plus;
    • If the candidate comes with their own contacts and experience in key health networks in South African and the region, this will be a plus;
    • Graduate degree a plus;
    • South African citizenship or valid work permit required;
    • Fluency in spoken and written English. Knowledge of other languages will be an advantage;
    • Good communication, interpersonal and listening skills;
    • Ability to learn quickly;
    • Ability to work well under pressure;
    • Strong attention to detail;
    • Good organisational skills;
    • Willingness to work beyond official working times;
    • Willingness to travel in South Africa and internationally;
    • Ability to relate to people.
    • The position of the Access Campaign South Africa Advocacy Officer will be based in Johannesburg and be housed by the Programmes Unit. The position will be fully integrated into MSF South Africa, with participation in strategy sessions. Close collaboration with MSF South Africa communications team is a must. There will also be in-person presence and tight collaboration with the Cape Town units (operational and medical teams);
    • The person will also be integrated with the international Access Campaign, including regular telephone meetings and agreement of action plans and  yearly meetings in Europe, with other international travel as required. Critical direction will come from the Geneva-based Policy Advocacy director in Geneva.
    Starting date: 3 December 2012 (Negotiable).

    To apply, submit a CV and motivation letter with ‘ACCESS 2012’ in the subject line to Zoya Naidoo at

    Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.

    Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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    For more about the Médecins Sans Frontières South Africa, refer to

    For other vacancies in the NGO sector, refer to


    Follow and support the 2012 SANGONeT "No Pain No Gain" fundraising and awareness-raising campaign. Refer to for more information.

  • Almost All of the Hospitals Around the City are Receiving Wounded

    A three-person Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) team is currently in Tripoli with supplies and is starting to support facilities that are already overwhelmed with patients wounded in the fighting currently taking place in the Libyan capital. MSF has also dispatched teams to Zlitan, east of Tripoli, and Al Zawiyah, to the west, to support hospitals faced with an influx of wounded. Speaking from Tripoli, Jonathan Whittall, MSF Emergency Coordinator, describes the situation on the ground.

    Jonathan Whittall
    Jonathan Whittall. Photo: Zethu Mlobeli/MSF

    What is the situation like right now?
    What we’re dealing with at the moment are health facilities in Tripoli that were already stretched even before the clashes erupted this week. Hospitals had shortages of personnel, due to the fact that many foreign medical staff who worked in the health system had already fled Libya. And hospitals had shortages of medical supplies because of the sanctions imposed on the country. The health system was already struggling to deal with the wounded coming from the frontline outside of Tripoli.
    For the last three weeks, medical staff have been focusing almost exclusively on emergency cases and just haven’t been able to deal with any other medical problem the population has faced such as chronic diseases, emergency C-sections, and other medical conditions. The care really just hasn’t been available. When you add this to the clashes and fighting that’s broken out this week in Tripoli — and it has been extremely intense in some parts of the city — then you have a situation where already overstretched hospitals are trying to cope with the influx of wounded, and they just don’t have the support they need in terms of personnel or supplies.
    What is the situation like in the hospitals you have been able to assess?

    Almost all of the hospitals around the city are receiving wounded, but some of the hospitals have not been accessible due to the fighting, which means that other hospitals have an added burden. Now that the city is beginning to calm down a little bit, the hospitals are beginning to deal with the patients who weren’t able to reach them before. That’s not only the recently wounded, but it’s also the injured who have been too afraid to travel by road, along with other emergency cases.
    The hospitals that I’ve visited since the clashes started are often quite chaotic scenes with many doctors and nurses unable to reach the hospital because either they live in areas that are still not secure or they can’t travel through the city from one side to another. There’s a shortage of health workers inside the facilities, but there is a huge number of people who are responding as volunteers and who are going to the hospitals to try and support and assist where they can. But this is creating quite a chaotic environment.
    The hospitals that I’ve been to have been full of wounded – gunshot wounded – in the emergency departments as well as the other wards. In one health facility that I visited, they had converted some houses next to the clinic into an inpatient department. For example, in the one house I went into, patients were lying on the floor, lying on the desks that were left inside the house and had been converted into a makeshift ward for patients to stay. But because of the shortage of staff, there was no nursing staff and the patients were essentially caring for themselves. In another facility, I saw wounded people waiting outside the hospital to get into the emergency room.

    Are there other obstacles to providing aid beyond the fighting?

    The problem that’s facing ambulances is that there’s a massive fuel shortage in Tripoli. The fuel is not able to come in yet across from Tunisia. This is a big concern because electricity is very sporadic, so generators are being used to run hospitals, but hospitals have quite limited reserves of fuel.

    How is MSF responding to the situation?
    The medical situation requires a very quick response, which is why we’re bringing in additional teams and supplies. More staff arrived with supplies and more will come tomorrow. We will start supporting health facilities immediately. There are still clashes happening in parts of the city today and this will definitely have an impact on the medical needs.
    The health facilities are stretched, but by no means are they completely collapsed or not functioning at all. Health workers are treating the injured, they are responding to the needs of their community, but they are, of course, facing massive challenges. It’s not a matter of competence or willingness. It’s a matter of needing the support to be able to better address the very urgent and overwhelming needs they’re faced with.
    Has there been any let-up in the intensity of the fighting?
    Now it’s quieter. Three days ago I wouldn’t have been able to talk to you on the phone because of the constant gunfire and shelling outside. Today the fact that I can speak to you without hiding behind a wall is a progress.
    But it’s such a fluid situation, such a rapidly evolving situation. It’s been four days now and I can’t begin to explain the changes I’ve seen in Tripoli. It’s been extremely quick, the way in which the violence erupted within Tripoli and the way in which the city is now changing. We have to remain extremely vigilant in how things develop in the coming days.

    In one of the hospitals that we haven’t been able to access because of ongoing fighting, we’ve heard of a critical situation with patients who are unable to be seen by medical staff because they can’t reach the hospital and because of fighting happening in the areas around it. It is absolutely essential in the coming days that all hospitals need to be accessible to patients. Health workers must be allowed to reach medical facilities and the sanctity of these structures must be respected by combatants on all sides of the fighting.

    About MSF:

    MSF is an international medical humanitarian organisation that has been working in Libya since February 25, 2011. To ensure the independence of its medical work, MSF relies solely on private financial donations to fund its activities in Libya and does not accept funding from any government, donor agency, nor from any military or politically affiliated group. Today, the MSF team in Libya is made up of 44 Libyan staff and 30 international staff and is currently providing medical care, mental health care, surgical services, and pharmacy support in the cities of Tripoli, Misrata, Zlintan, Yefren, and Benghazi.

    Listen to an audio interview with Janathan Whittall, MSF Emergency Coordinator in Tripoli. He describes the huge pressures on medical staff and hospitals in the Libyan capital as they struggle to cope with high numbers of wounded patients. There is also a critical shortage of fuel needed for ambulances and generators.

    For more updates on MSF's emergency response in Libya, refer to

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