USAID: Project Development Specialist - Biomedical (Health)

USAID / Southern Africa
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Wednesday, 11 June, 2014
Opportunity type: 

Reference No.: 674-14-1010B
Position/Salary Range: Project Development Specialist - Biomedical (Health)
FSN-12: R 543,747.00 - R 748,642.00 (Full Performance - Basic Salary)
FSN-11: R 385,720.00 - R 540,006.00 (Trainee level - Basic Salary)
Additional benefits include miscellaneous allowance, medical and pension fund subsidy and housing and dependents’ education assistance subject to qualification.

Open To: All South African citizens and permanent residents with valid work permits at the time of application.
Location: USAID/Southern Africa, Health Office, Pretoria, South Africa
Opening: May 16, 2014
Closing: June 11, 2014
Work Hours: Full-Time; 40 hours/week
USAID/Southern Africa, an equal opportunity employer, seeks applicants for the above positions:
English language fluency (Level IV English), both in oral and written communications, is a requirement for this position. Interested applicants who do not meet this qualification ARE ENCOURAGED NOT to apply as their applications will not be considered.
Basic Function of Position:

The Biomedical Prevention Specialist serves as a technical advisor to USAID on established or emerging biomedical interventions designed to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS. These interventions include, but are not limited to, adult and early infant medical male circumcision (MMC), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and microbicides. He/she tracks other relevant biomedical research activities supported by USAID in South Africa and other emerging high impact, evidence based biomedical interventions. The Biomedical Prevention Specialist provides strategic guidance to the USAID Health Team and to partners on implementation of PEPFAR Guidance for the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted HIV Infections. The incumbent also serves as a subject matter expert for MMC and PEP and other key biomedical prevention tools (e.g. microbicides, the HPV vaccine and PrEP).The Biomedical Prevention Specialist interacts with the US Government team as well as technical representatives of other USG agencies, Government counterparts, Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, international donors, international and local NGOs and other key development partners. The incumbent may also provide technical assistance directly to the Government of South Africa, when requested.
The Biomedical Prevention Specialist also serves a project or activity manager.  Following certification, the incumbent is delegated all authorities and responsibilities commensurate with a Contracts /Agreement Officers Representatives (COR/AOR) for PEPFAR-funded awards and contracts issued by USAID South Africa Bilateral Program, as well as USAID/Washington-procured Field Support activities. In this context, the incumbent is responsible for technical and financial oversight of the implementing partner(s), reviewing reports, scopes of work, and other documents. The incumbent reviews and determines appropriateness of contract modifications and submits relevant recommendations to the Senior Acquisition and Assistance Specialist. The incumbent discusses directly with counterpart officials and with the contractor on all aspects of financial expenditures, and recommends action to the Senior Acquisition and Assistance Specialist. In conjunction and coordination with other activity managers, AORs and CORs, the incumbent oversees monitoring and evaluation of activities under the prevention portfolio by reviewing technical documents and reports, visiting the field at least twice per month, and by engaging in one-on-one reporting and meeting with key counterpart officials.
Major Duties And Responsibilities:

As part of the OVC and Prevention team, the incumbent is responsible for, but not limited to, the following duties:

  1. Technical Leadership
  1. Provide state-of-the-art technical and clinical guidance to USAID on efforts designed to reduce HIV transmission through biomedical interventions.   Provide guidance on appropriate and effective   behavioral and communications interventions to increase demand for and successful outcomes of biomedical prevention services.
  2. Provide state-of the-art technical assistance to the South African Government, other USG agencies, implementing partners and other South Africa organizations on biomedical HIV prevention interventions.
  3. Play an active technical leadership role on the interagency PEPFAR/South Africa Technical Working Groups (TWG) which provides technical, programmatic and budgetary guidance to partners and responds to information requests from USG leadership on biomedical interventions. He/she may also serve as a member of global or regional technical working groups organized under the auspices of the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator.
  4. Provide strategic leadership and advice to USG to ensure effective coordination with other bilateral and international development partners such as UNAIDS, WHO, Global Fund for AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria on HIV/AIDS biomedical prevention.
  5. Regularly update USAID and other USG staff on emerging research findings, technology, and trends related to biomedical interventions to reduce HIV transmission.
  6. Collect and analyze data and information to monitor performance of programs in the biomedical HIV prevention portfolio, and maintain data bases of this information.  Contribute to program and activity evaluations that are organized within USAID, across agencies, or by the South African government.
  7. Ensure that USAID-funded biomedical activities incorporate current USAID and OGAC policies, priorities and technical considerations. For instance, the incumbent will ensure that that that state-of-the-art gender and stigma reduction programming are effectively incorporated across biomedical prevention program design, implementation, and evaluation; will ensure that interventions and biomedical prevention interventions are linked with testing, care and treatment activities; and will ensure USG-supported biomedical prevention programs and efforts address the organizational, technical and human dimensions of sustainability and the serious human resource crisis in South Africa.
  8. Solicit and utilise the input of technical advisors, USG staff and consultants, both local and international as needed.
  1. Project Management
  1. Serve as COR/AOR or responsible Activity Manager for designated activities awarded under the biomedical prevention portfolio.  In this context, the incumbent is responsible for all aspects of project management for her/his assigned activities, including technical and financial oversight of the contractors, reviewing reports, documents, and scopes of work.  Where appropriate, oversee other program activities to ensure their successful implementation.
  2. Review and determine the appropriateness of proposed agreement modifications and submit recommendations to USAID for follow-up action.
  3. Negotiate directly with counterpart officials and with partners on all aspects of financial expenditures, and recommend action to the respective COR/ Assistance and Acquisition Carry out routine monitoring and evaluation of project progress by reviewing technical documents and reports, completing site visits, and engaging in one-on-one reporting and meeting with key partner officials.
  4. Undertake regular site visits of implementing partners and maintain regular communication with implementing partners to ensure that they have feasible, results-oriented, gender-sensitive work plans and sound management and financial plans in place; that activity implementation is proceeding in accordance with the approved COP; that planned inputs and outputs are clearly identified and produced on schedule; that funding advances are requested, provided, expended and liquidated in accordance with financial plans and relevant USG procedures; that pipelines are reviewed with grantees at least quarterly; that timely audits are carried out in accordance with the respective activity agreements and any audit recommendations are closed; that completed activities are promptly closed out; and that implementing partners comply with the terms and conditions of activity agreements.
  5. Assist implementing partners to troubleshoot implementation problems, and bring any major management or politically sensitive issues to the attention of the USAID Health Office Director or his/her designee.

3.   Program Planning and Reporting

  1. Assist in developing program design documents; in other pre-obligation documentations; in the preparation of the annual PEPFAR Country Operational Plan (COP); in the design of USAID-funded activities and projects, and in the technical review of and written evaluation of proposals submitted for funding.
  2. Ensure that all program documentation meets both USG requirements and audit inspection standards. This includes analyzing and providing guidance to the USAID Prevention team on what kinds of documentation are required based on regulations; on requests/guidance from USAID, OGAC and on ADS and other relevant guidance; and on the experience of previous audits.
  3. Ensure that documentation of biomedical prevention activities is prepared with input from other USG Team members and implementing partners; and is submitted in a timely fashion for review and clearance.
  4. Participate in and support any audits of Prevention activities as required.
  5. Ensure that Biomedical Prevention program and activity management files are in order, up to date, and complete.
  6. As part of the Prevention team, provide strategic, technical and administrative guidance on all supported Prevention activities as required.

4.   Budget Tracking and Analysis

  1. Perform budget formulation duties for the biomedical prevention portfolio including preparing analyses and estimates of annual funding needs for one or more future budget years of PEPFAR funding.
  2. Monitor obligations, commitments, expenditures, and results against targets.
  3. Ensure that the budget system is used effectively as an evaluating tool in measuring program performance and effectiveness.
  4. The employee may be required, on an as needed basis, to perform other duties as assigned in support of the overall responsibilities of the USG PEPFAR team.
  5. The incumbent is expected to make independent judgments that can be defended as necessary. As a highly qualified professional, substantial reliance is placed on the employee to independently plan and carry out the specific activities entailed in fulfilling major duties and responsibilities.   
  6. The employee resolves problems that arise by determining the approaches to be taken and methodologies to be used; developing, coordinating, and clearing proposed solutions with all necessary parties; and then taking appropriate actions necessary to resolve the problem.

Required Qualifications At The Full Performance Level:

A successful candidate must hold a degree as medical officer or a Ph.D. in clinical sciences or a related area.
Prior Work Experience:
Eight or more years relevant work experience is required. Relevant work experience for this position is previous work as a technical clinical advisor for the South African Government, civil society, community health services, or international donors.
Language Proficiency:

English language fluency (Level IV English), both in oral and written communications, is a requirement for this position. English language written skills will be evaluated in the initial review of an applicant's submission by a review of the Cover Letter and of the CV itself as well as in the testing phase. Oral English skills will be evaluated in the interview phase.

  • Knowledge of clinical interventions, such as male circumcision, and of related demand generating interventions, is required. 
  • Familiarity with the of South African Government National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS and TB, especially in relation to medical male circumcision, Post Exposure Prophalaxis, microbicides, other biomedical prevention health initiatives, and aspects of the international guidelines on biomedical prevention is required. 
  • Familiarity with challenges faced by National Department of Health, Social Development Education and others on biomedical health interventions is required.
  • Good understanding of the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the various sectors (health, education, labor, etc) is required.

Skills and Abilities:
The following skills and abilities are required unless otherwise stated:

  • Ability to operate independently with limited direct supervision of day-to-day activities.
  • Strong analytic skills with the ability to independently and reliably analyze political, social, economic and policy issues and to formulate, present and effectively defend complex activity design and implementation actions.
  • Documents and/or other written material to be articulated and presented in a clear manner and according to professional standards.
  • Ability to orientate, train and guide lower-level FSN personnel, when appropriate (strongly preferred).
  • A high-level of writing ability, strong knowledge of computer software, general computer proficiency, administrative and management skills, as well as strong diplomatic and negotiation skills. 
  • Strong organisational, communication and interpersonal skills, including the ability to work within a large cross-cultural team of healthcare technical advisors, program managers and other staff from different USG agencies (USAID, CDC, DOD, DOS, and Peace Corps).
  • Willingness to travel regularly within South Africa and sometimes outside.

Evaluation Criteria and Weights:

  1. Education/Weighted 5% based on initial application review; 
  2. English Language Skills/Weighted 25% based on application review, written assessment and interview;
  3. Prior Work Experience/Weighted 20% based on application review and interview;
  4. Knowledge/Weighted 20% based on written assessment and interview; and
  5. Skills and Abilities/Weighted 30% based on written assessment and interview.

How the Selection will be made:
The successful candidate will be selected based upon the following:

  1. a preliminary review of the applicant's submitted package (which includes the
    Cover Letter and CV) to establish that minimum educational and English writing fluency requirements are met; and
  2. tests to include an English writing skills test, a Microsoft Office proficiency test that might include any of the following: Word, Excel, PowerPoint; and any technical skill test that might be deemed appropriate; 
  3. a personal or telephone/DVC interview; and
  4. reference checks.
  • USAID/SA’s Human Resources Section will perform the preliminary review (Step 1 above) to eliminate those applications that do not meet the minimum educational and written English language requirements before forwarding the rest to the Technical Office or Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) for further review and assessment. 
  • The Technical Evaluation Committee will review each of the forwarded applications against the established evaluation criteria to develop a shortlist of applicants to be tested and possibly interviewed.  Applicants will be contacted for testing (Step 2) and interviews. Based on the results of the tests, however, an applicant otherwise identified for interview could be dropped from the interview list. 
  • Following the interview (Step 3) during which the applicant will be evaluated against the established criteria, the TEC will make a preliminary determination of candidates to be considered for employment and forward that list to HR.  HR will conduct and document the reference checks (Step 4) prior to advising the TEC of the results of these checks.  Please note that references may be solicited from current as well as former supervisors in addition to the references you provide in your application package.  References will only be solicited for those interviewed applicants who are being considered for ranking. 
  • Based on this final input, the TEC will make its final decision on which candidates to rank order, prepare a Selection Memo for the review and approval of the Contracting Officer, after which an offer of employment will be made to the successful candidate and unsuccessful candidates who were interviewed will be contacted and advised of their non-selection.
  • As positive medical and security clearances are a condition of employment, the selected candidate will undergo stringent investigation prior to employment with USAID/SA.

USAID/SA reserves the right to hire an applicant who does not meet the required experience level at a trainee level. However, an applicant who does not meet the minimum educational requirements cannot be hired at either a trainee or full performance level.
This position is open to all South African citizens and permanent residents with valid work permits at the time of application. USAID/SA management will consider nepotism/conflict of interest, budget, section need for continuity and residency status in determining successful applications. Current USG employees on probationary status (i.e. within their first year of employment) are not eligible to apply.
The Project Development Specialist will be compensated in accordance with the U.S. Mission to South Africa’s Local Compensation Plan (LCP). The successful candidate’s salary level will be based on prior job-related experience and salary history.
To Apply:

ONLY applicants who meet the minimum educational and English language fluency requirements as stated in the solicitation document will be considered.  Interested applicants who do not meet these requirements are encouraged NOT to apply since these applications will not be considered.
For an application package to be considered complete, please follow the following instructions and submit your application through one of the channels mentioned below:

  1. Ensure that your application is accompanied by a Cover Letter,
  2. Include a CV of no more than 4 pages, and
  3. Ensure that all communications (including your Cover Letter) includes the Announcement Reference # and the Title of the Position(s) for which you are applying. 

Failure to comply with these instructions may result in your application being considered “non responsive” and eliminated from further consideration.

  1. E-mail:
Point of Contact:

Athandiwe Mazibukwana: (012) 452 2057
Athea Mestre, Telephone: (012) 452-2158
Penny Mamabolo, Telephone: (012) 452-2058
Only short-listed candidates will be acknowledged.
The U.S. Mission in South Africa provides opportunity and fair and equitable treatment in employment to all people without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation, marital status or sexual orientation.  The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) also strives to ensure equal employment opportunity in all personnel operations.
The EEO complaint procedure is not available to individuals who believe they have been denied equal opportunity based upon marital status or political affiliation.  Individuals with such complaints should avail themselves of the appropriate grievance procedures, remedies for prohibited personnel practices, and/or courts for relief.

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