The Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc. (CHAI) is a global health organization committed to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease in low-and middle-income countries, while strengthening the capabilities of governments and the private sector in those countries to create and sustain high-quality health systems that can succeed without our assistance. For more information, please visit: http://www.clintonhealthaccess.org.
With the establishment of the ambitious 2020 “90-90-90” treatment targets, there is a renewed focus on initiating HIV-infected people onto ART as soon as possible, and ensuring they remain on effective treatment to achieve viral suppression – both of which require better access to Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) and Viral Load (VL) testing. However, access to effective EID and VL testing is hampered, as the market for both tests has historically been dominated by complex, laboratory-based technologies, which are unable to meet the entire testing need in resource-limited settings. These technologies require high capital investment, sophisticated laboratory infrastructure and highly trained technicians that are not available in many settings, and have limited geographic reach. As a result, most patients do not have access to testing on-site where they receive care, instead relying on transportation of samples to and results from centralized laboratories to provide access to testing. Although these conventional, laboratory-based technologies have formed the backbone for national testing programs and have provided testing to many patients, implementation has been hampered by system challenges in establishing effective sample transportation networks, transmitting test results to patients, and optimizing laboratory workflows.
The goal of this project is to speed clinical decision-making by reducing test turn-around time for EID and VL testing. This will enable earlier treatment initiation for HIV-positive infants, earlier interventions for patients with poor treatment adherence, and timelier switching of patients onto more effective second-line regimens in the case of first-line treatment failure. To reach this goal, the project will increase the proportion of EID and VL results that are returned to patients through the scale-up of point of care (POC) products as well as the strengthening of existing conventional HIV diagnostics programs.
The project will work to ensure that high-quality routine POC EID and VL testing is established, and conventional EID and VL systems are strengthened. Specifically, to facilitate the selection of new POC EID and VL technologies based on Senegal needs and context, assist Senegal in the adoption of recent WHO Guideline recommendations, and support national scale-up of POC testing by establishing necessary systems and processes to ensure result delivery and linkage to care, as well as address gaps in conventional testing systems by improving sample transportation networks, data management, laboratory workflow, and quality assurance programs.
CHAI is seeking a talented, highly motivated, and flexible Associate to support the development, expansion, and improvement of laboratory systems for point of care testing for EID and viral load in Senegal. The Associate, based in Dakar, will report to the HIV Labs Program Manager. This position will closely support the Program Manager in fostering relationships with the MoH, UNICEF, and other key stakeholders in Senegal. The Associate will support the Program Manager in identifying gaps and opportunities, performing necessary analyses to inform program strategies to ensure that the country has reached certain diagnostics milestones prior to the scale-up of the POC EID and HIV Viral Load programs as well as the long-term success of the project. The Associate will support the development and execution of strategies to accelerate the adoption of new and innovative EID and VL technologies/ assays, ensure results delivery, and strengthen linkage to care. Furthermore, she/he will support the promotion of MoH/partner coordination, strengthen access to essential HIV testing services such as EID, CD4, chemistry, and hematology, and VL testing, promote sustainable solutions for equipment service and maintenance challenges, and strengthen the relationship in the HIV logistics supply chain management systems for lab commodities.
The Associate will be a highly motivated individual with outstanding credentials and analytical ability. This position is required to work with government officials and partners, and must have excellent relationship building and communication skills. She/he must be able to function independently with minimal oversight and have a strong commitment to excellence with a keen eye for detail.