Psychosocial Services Advisor

  • Full Time
  • Lusaka, Zambia
  • Applications have closed
  • Salary: TBD

Catholic Relief Services - Zambia Country Program

About Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identify is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as part of our staff and as partner’s people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and commitment to serving those in need. Since 2000 CRS Zambia has been implementing a number of programmes to support vulnerable communities in Zambian. Recent programming areas include: nutrition, agriculture, food security, HIV/AIDS, WASH, financial inclusion, and early child development.


Epidemic Control 90-90-90 (EpiC 3-90) supports the Ministry of Health (MOH) in targeted faith-based health facilities and selected GRZ institutions to achieve the UNAIDS Fast Track goals for epidemic control: 90% of all PLHIV know their status, 90% of those diagnosed receive sustained ART, 90% of all people receiving ART have viral suppression.

EpiC 3-90 supports comprehensive HIV/AIDS service delivery at supported health facilities while building capacity and systems for sustainability through a three-pronged approach: 1) Support health facilities improve their delivery of HIV prevention, treatment and laboratory services; 2) Improve key health system functions and structures needed to deliver quality HIV services; and 3) Health information is strategically collected and utilized to improve HIV service delivery. Through the course of the project, EpiC 3-90 will gradually decrease its involvement so that District and Provincial Health Offices (DHOs, PHOs) assume oversight of and technical assistance to supported facilities.

EpiC 3-90 is a consortium project of Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ), Chreso Ministries and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). As a prime consortium member, CRS brings globally recognized expertise in grants management, health systems strengthening and sustainability, and top-notch HIV/AIDS service delivery.

Job Summary

The Psychosocial Services Advisor (PSA) will work with selected facilities to provide technical support in the implementation of all the Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA) activities, provision of other counseling services (such as treatment preparation, disclosure counseling, and adherence support) and patient care satisfaction support. CETA is a scientifically proven transdiagnostic intervention, combining treatments for a range of mental health issues (trauma, depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse) into a single model. CETA’S modular, community-based approach addresses several mental health challenges in concert, enabling scale-up and sustainability in low-to-middle income environment. In FY21/COP20, CRS EpiC 3-90’s goal is to integrate CETA into its HIV care and treatment program. Mental health and substance use are known to negatively affect HIV outcomes such as adherence and retention, and therefore the timely identification & treatment for these problems is an opportunity to improve HIV outcomes. The CETA program is designed with a focus of offering psychological support to patients that will be identified as having mental or interpersonal problems. These psychosocial challenges may lead to failure for clients to disclose appropriately their status, hinder good treatment preparation, adherence to treatment or retention ion care. As a result, the patient experience in HIV care is less optimal and patient satisfaction is poor.

The PSA will provide oversite to EpiC 3-90 supported sites running the CETA program and Customer Care capacity building. S/he will provide timely support for any gaps identified during the implementation. S/he coordinate activities of facility CETA supervisors and providers who will monitor a regular basis patients to identify those requiring psychosocial support. The PSA will be responsible for planning trainings, visits to CETA implementing facilities and will provide timely hands-on mentorship to Health Care Workers (HCWs), Counsellors and Community Based Volunteers in the implementation of the CETA activities. Together with other EpiC3-90 technical staff, s/he will provide guidance on how to scale up the CETA program to other facilities across supported districts. The PSA will provide support for customer care capacity building and conduct patient satisfaction interviews. The PSA will in collaboration with the Community team at EPIC 3-90 support professional and lay counselors provide effect psychosocial support to clients in treatment preparation, adherence support, disclosure, child psychosocial support and mental health education. The PSA will also work closely with the EpiC3-90 Strategic Information/Monitoring Evaluation teams to have all CETA services and Customer care services documented and reported to CRS HQ. The PSA will report to the Senior Technical Clinical Care and Treatment Advisor (Clinical Lead).

Roles and Responsibilities:

The Psychosocial Services Advisor:

  • Provide technical support to all CETA implementing facilities in triaging ART patients to allow screening of patients with High Viral Loads, missed pharmacy pick-up, defaulters for any mental or interpersonal problems
  • In consultation with the Clinical Lead, plan on-site mentorship activities for facilities having high numbers of attrition (missed clinical appointment, defaulters), unlinked patients and High Viral Load
  • Together with other clinical technical teams, build capacity to HCWs, Counsellors and Community-Based Volunteers (CBVs) by providing central and on-site trainings, targeted on-site mentorship aimed and improving the overall delivery of the CETA, Psychosocial support and Customer care activities
  • Continuously work at identifying appropriate program strategies that will help to reduce attrition and High Viral Load patients in selected facilities and share these strategies with all the CETA supported facilities and ultimately improve HIV services outcomes
  • Provide timely implementation of all facility and community level project inputs, including planning and implementing assessments, site system strengthening, follow-up and supervision, customer satisfaction interviews & surveys, coordination of community health worker groups, advocacy, demand creation, policy support, capacity-building and M&E across project sites, in close coordination and collaboration with CDC and Ministry of Health
  • Together with the CETA facilities, support the management and running of the Adolescents and Young People Living with HIV (AYPLHIV) aged 15-24 groups to help them understand their HIV diagnosis and achieve good psycho-social well being
  • Regularly report to the clinical lead and technical staff on successes, challenges and lessons learnt in implementation related to community treatment, health systems and other areas of technical expertise
  • Provide guidance to project teams, professional associations and stakeholders in the revision/development of evidenced-based standards for competency in improving HIV treatment and care
  • Provide timely implementation of all CETA program activities, including planning and implementing assessments, site system strengthening, follow-up and supervision, coordination of HCWs, CETA supervisors and provider/counsellors, advocacy, demand creation, policy support, capacity-building and M&E across CETA facilities, in collaboration with John Hopkins University , CDC and Ministry of Health
  • Work with Strategic Information/Monitoring Evaluation teams to collect, analyze weekly, monthly and quarterly facility reports
  • Any other duties as assigned by the supervisor

Background, Experience & Requirements:

Education and Experience

  • Diploma/Advanced Certificate in Psychosocial counselling/Social work; additional diploma in community nursing or degree in public health will be an advantage
  • Psycho-social counselling certificate and full registration will be required
  • 5 years’ experience implementing HIV prevention, care and treatment, preferably supporting faith-based health facilities in Zambia
  • Strong skills and track record in providing psychosocial support counselling and patient tracking for retention in care
  • Able to provide effective hands-on mentorship to Health Care Workers, Counsellors and Community Based Volunteers
  • Ability to work in a complex environment with multiple tasks, short deadlines and intense pressure to perform
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office is a must e.g. experience in working with pivot tables

Personal Skills

  • Excellent relationship management skills with ability to influence and get buy-in from people not under direct supervision and to work with individuals of diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Strong strategic, analytical, problem-solving and systems thinking skills with capacity to see the big picture and ability to make sound judgement
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Strong presentation, facilitation, training, mentoring, and coaching skills
  • Proactive, resourceful and results-oriented

Required/Desired Foreign Language:

Proficiency in English and any Zambian local language

Travel Required:

70% travel

Key Working Relationships:

Internal: Chief of Party, Deputy Chief of Party/Technical, Deputy Chief of Party (Operations), Health System Strengthening Advisor, Consortium Members (CHAZ and Chreso), Deputy SI/M&E Director, Continuous Quality Improvement Advisors (CQIAs), Senior Community Advisor (SCA), Technical Advisors and Health Facilities

External: GRZ agencies (MOH, PHO, DHO and MSL), international and national non-governmental organizations

Agency-wide Competencies (for all CRS Staff):

These are rooted in the mission, values, and guiding principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and achieve the desired results.

  • Serves with Integrity
  • Models Stewardship
  • Cultivates Constructive Relationships
  • Promotes Learning


This job description is not an exhaustive list of the skill, effort, duties, and responsibilities associated with the position.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Note: By applying for this job, you understand and acknowledge that CRS requires its staff to treat all people with dignity and respect and to actively prevent harassment, abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking. Further, you understand that if you are a successful candidate, you will be subject to a comprehensive background check, and your personal/professional references will be asked to evaluate your behaviors related to the above safeguarding-related topics.

Applicant Instructions: Please email a cover letter, and curriculum vitae which should include three references to: [email protected] Please include the position you are applying for in the subject line.

The closing date for applications is 22nd January 2021. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview