Crown Agents: Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of NTDs (ASCEND)
Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of NTDs (ASCEND) is a €200 million investment from the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID), to advance the impact and sustainability of national programs tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). In Zambia, ASCEND is anchored on the following broad areas of intervention: (i) Treatment and prevention of disability (ii) Strengthening of the national health system (iii) Data management for targeting and monitoring (iv) Cross-sectoral collaboration, in particular within the health sector and WASH/BCC sectors.
DFID has contracted Crown Agents together with its consortium partners to act as Fund Manager for ASCEND in Zambia. Therefore, Crown Agents will work with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to support the immediate procurement of services from Implementing Partners (IPs) and consultants that will further the below-stated objectives of ASCEND in the country.
- Objective 1: Relevant aspects of the health system will be strengthened to ensure sustainable delivery of NTD control and elimination activities in Zambia
- Objective 2: Increased coverage of preventive treatment for NTDs in Zambia
- Objective 3: Increased coverage of curative treatment and morbidity management and disability prevention services for NTDs in Zambia
- Objective 4: Increased coverage of appropriate preventive measures, including hygiene promotion and behavior change communication.
- Objective 5: Increased knowledge and evidence on the effective response to NTDs in Zambia.
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Programme Master Plans are essential strategic documents for governments to effectively plan and implement sustainable NTD programmes. Each Master Plan provides programme goals, objectives and year strategy based on extensive situation analysis, and addresses all components of the NTD programmes relevant to the country. It enhances synergies among various NTD initiatives, provides the basis for integrated or linked NTD project plans and includes costing and financing requirements for effective NTD programme performance. The country NTD Master Plan will also form the basis for harmonized implementation and performance monitoring of all NTD interventions in a country.
The new WHO guidelines seek to encourage three fundamental shifts in the approach to tackling NTDs:
- Increase accountability for impact by using impact indicators instead of process indicators;
- Move away from siloed, disease-specific programmes by mainstreaming programmes into national health systems and intensifying cross-cutting approaches centred on the needs of people and communities; and
- Change operating models and culture to facilitate greater ownership of programmes by countries. Shift from externally driven partner and donor funding, to country ownership and financing.
Zambia has already developed the second National NTD Master Plan 2019-2023 which serves as a framework for the planning, delivery, and management of NTDs at all levels of health delivery systems in Zambia. It aims to address the many surgical, medical, public health and community problems that our people face in this country, as a result of these diseases.
The Zambia NTD masterplan (2019-2023) now needs to be reviewed and revised using the new WHO guidelines aligned to the new NTD Roadmap (2030) and ESPEN Plan (2025). The proposed Roadmap for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030 is WHO’s second blueprint for preventing, controlling and, where feasible, eliminating and eradicating neglected tropical diseases. The aim of the new road map is to facilitate alignment among Member States and other stakeholders and to accelerate progress towards the prevention, control, elimination and eradication of the 20 NTDs and disease groups now prioritized by WHO and attaining the SDGs.
The aim of the NTD Masterplan review is to describe how the Zambian Health sector will implement the planned NTDs activities, looking at the changes in the landscape of NTD funding sources and procedure for accessing those funds. It is also during this exercise that the country’s capacity needs will be explained, how resources will be mobilized, potential risks will be addressed, and lastly but not the least how the National NTD Programme sustainability might be achieved in the current sphere of NTD programming.
In addition, during this process data on the NTD related pieces will be captured through the desk review and results from the previous surveys will be measured against the benchmarks that would be agreed upon with key stakeholders during this exercise. It is envisioned that the outcomes of this NTD Masterplan review process will drastically improve NTD programme capacities in addressing disease specific issues. The assignment will focus on the aforementioned WHO three key niche areas to revise the current Master Plan.
The key deliverables under this Consultancy will be a revised version of the existing NTD Masterplan (which covers the period 2019-2023) and Budget Estimates, all to be developed under the leadership of the MoH.
Services to be delivered:
The overarching services being sought under this consultancy are facilitation support to the MoH for review and revision of the Zambia NTD Master Plan 2019-2023 and consolidate the new NTD Master Plan 2021-2025 using the WHO guidelines aligned to the new NTD Roadmap (2030) and ESPEN Plan (2025). This will be linked to the development of budget estimates and the associated justifications. The services to be provided under this role are:
- Review and revise the current Zambia NTD Master Plan (2019-2023) using the WHO guidelines aligned to the new NTD Roadmap (2030) and ESPEN Plan (2025).
- Budget Estimates and Justifications
- Facilitation of a National Validation Workshop
- Small Group (15 people max) Final Clearance meeting of the draft validation report/Revised NTD Masterplan and Budget estimates
- Facilitate the Dissemination Meeting with key stakeholders at national level while drawing participants from various levels; national, provincial and district.
Reporting: The consultant will be directly reporting to the ASCEND Zambia Country Lead and the NTDs Programme Manager at MoH. The WHO NTDs Country focal point person, MoH disease focal point persons and other relevant MoH and other relevant MoH and ASCEND seconded country staff will fully participate in the review and revision of NTD Masterplan.
ASCEND is committed to implementing a ‘leave no-one behind’ (LNOB) approach across all programme activities. This means that all government partners and implementing partners must also demonstrate a commitment to leaving no-one behind in programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Leaving no-one behind means putting those who are most at risk of falling behind first. ASCEND’s commitment to leaving no-one behind is based on the following four principles: a fair opportunity in life; everyone counts and must be counted; respect for the voice of those who are furthest behind; and ensuring equitable access to services.
To achieve full coverage of equitable, sustainable NTD control programs, ASCEND advocates for inclusion, collaboration and cooperation across, between and within programs and partners.
The selected Consultant will be expected to demonstrate integration of these principles within the delivery of their services.
The Consultant must be registered to work in Zambia, with a functioning office and is expected to use own computer and other equipment required for the task.
Required Skills and Qualifications
- Bachelor’s degree in Health sciences or related field is required;
- Master’s Degree in health sciences or related fields will be an added advantage;
- Good understanding of the Zambian NTDs Programme and WHO guidelines in development of the NTD Masterplan is a must;
- Minimum of five years of experience dealing with Infectious diseases and NTD’s treatment preferred, developing guiding documents such as SOPs and other key health focused documents for Government line Ministries, most preferably Ministry of Health;
- Good knowledge and technical skills in monitoring and evaluation of health programmes
- Experience working with the Zambian Ministry of Health and NGOs is preferred;
- Demonstrated knowledge and experience in facilitating document reviews in Zambian health sector;
- Good experience in using NTD costing and planning software tools or any other tools relevant to the assignment.
- Excellent interpersonal and communications skills;
- Excellent analytical and writing skills;
- Demonstrated ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing;
- Demonstrated experiences and skills in facilitating stakeholder/working group consultations;
- Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office applications;
- Fluency in Zambian Languages and English required.
This position is based in Lusaka, Zambia, local candidates are preferred. It will require some travel within Zambia. The Consultants position will be for 26 days subject to extension if agreed to by all parties.