Regional Director of DNDi Latin America

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

[Closing date: 10 July 2015]


Established in 2003 in Geneva – Switzerland, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a collaborative, patient-needs driven, non-profit drug research and development (R&D) organization that is developing new treatments for neglected diseases (sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, filarial infections, malaria, and paediatric HIV) that afflict millions of the world’s poorest people. DNDi’s mission is to improve the quality of life and the health of people suffering from neglected diseases by using an alternative model for developing drugs and by ensuring equitable, affordable access to new and field-relevant health tools.

In 2003, DNDi was established in Rio de Janeiro as a liaison office. The office gradually developed into a national entity and more recently a regional office for Latin America.  In 2011, a regional Board of Directors was established. DNDi Latin America gained the status of a public utility in 2012. In 2013, a legal entity was opened in Argentina.

Our R&D activities have concentrated on three specific diseases: malaria, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis. Two products have been developed:  ASMQ (2008) and a paediatric formulation of Benznidazole (2011) in Brazil. Currently, DNDi runs clinical projects in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru and Colombia and a new initiative is in development for pre-clinical and discovery activities in the region (LOLA). Regional platforms have been set up (Chagas Platform in 2009 and REDLEISH in 2014) to capitalize efforts, accelerate research and strengthen skills of the diverse researchers and institutions dedicated to our diseases. A specific focus is improving access to our treatments and improving the lives of neglected patients through systemic approaches and new models of action. The regional office also has a long track record in advocacy, campaigning and lobbying of policy-makers at national and regional level.

The regional office has actively participated in paving the way for a new role of the regions in DNDi´s global mission. Building on the overall strategy of the organization (including the development of a dynamic portfolio of diseases and a broader scope of operating models) the strategy in Latin America is now to further seize regional opportunities, further advocate for neglected diseases among key local stakeholders, contribute to shape health policies and support the adoption of DNDi treatments. Increased empowerment of the office and more regional partnerships are critical for this strategy.

Following a successful period of expansion and using the new global business plan, the Regional Director of DNDi Latin America will drive the office and its rich networks into a new and vibrant period to build DNDi’s work in the region for the second decade. He/She will be the representative of DNDi and has the overall responsibility of the coherence of DNDi’s activities in the Latin American region, with the particular following objectives:

Drive regional institutional development and our external relations

  • Profile and position DNDi as a trusted R&D and health partner; foster relationships with public and private actors in the field of R&D and public health.
  • In coordination with the global R&D priorities, identify local/regional opportunities aligned to the DNDi mission, vision, strategy and priorities and engage relevant partners and stakeholders in DNDi’s projects and model.
  • Be accountable for the DNDi leadership or engagement in regional platforms (Global Chagas Platform and REDLEISH) in order to secure the commitment of partners to the global goals of the platforms.
  • Support R&D projects: in close coordination with the R&D leadership (including regional medical affairs, the heads of diseases, and the R&D leadership in Geneva), ensure regional issues are properly addressed in the projects and ensure effective and diligent implementation of R&D programmes, as validated by disease area leaders for the region in the yearly action plan.
  • Promote relevant guidelines for the rational use of DNDi treatments; strive for best scientific and medical practices in the development of new tools for neglected patients.

Lead regional stakeholders’ engagement

  • Ensure the leadership and representation of DNDi at regional level and the six current key countries (Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and Mexico).
  • Liaise with Founding Partner FIOCRUZ and maintain their commitment in DNDi to ensure consolidation and growth through a sustainable and reliable regional footprint. To strategically manage DNDi stakeholders in the region such as governments and ministries, academia, research institutions, civil society (patient groups, NGOs), public and private industry, PAHO and other multilateral actors.
  • Consolidate and increase resource development: develop resources by implementing strategies combining public investments in R&D (and access) and private contributions across the region.
  • Build and maintain an effective network with policy- and decision-makers in the areas of (public) health, access to medicines, drug research and development (with a focus on neglected diseases and the DNDi portfolio).
  • Engage regional policy- and decision-makers, donors, Friends of DNDi, civil society and national media to combat neglected diseases and support DNDi treatments adoption.

Oversee policy and advocacy

  • Implement local/regional policy advocacy according to the DNDi global advocacy agenda.
  • Identify and suggest policy debates/initiatives relevant to neglected disease R&D and access in the region, with a special focus on Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico.
  • Propose a strategic advocacy plan aligned with overall advocacy objectives of DNDi worldwide, to influence policies and practices to enable a sustainable environment for neglected diseases R&D within the region based on new and alternative models of partnership.
  • Guide dissemination of advocacy tools, support  key stakeholder engagement, and foster a network of policy makers, civil society groups, and the private sector working in the region on innovation and access.
  • Give guidance to the Global Chagas disease Coalition in coordination with the Coalition Coordinator and the other members of the Coalition, driving the priorities and scope of this campaign for scaling-up access to diagnostics and treatment of patients, and accelerate scientific efforts for new tools; campaign for increased diagnosis and treatment for people living with Chagas disease by coordinating with internal colleagues and external partners.
  • Engage regional policy- and decision-makers to adjust public health/disease control policies and programmes.

Oversee strategic management and institutional accountability

  • Ensure DNDi office executive management and be accountable for the performance of DNDi. Ensure consistency in our vision and our local operating model, in liaison with our matrix organization. Prepare the strategic plan for the region aligned with the global business plan and their respective action plans.
  • Prepare the annual budget and action plan for the office; manage and supervise DNDi’s resources.
  • Manage and guide the regional Management team for consistency, efficiency, delivery and optimization of transversal issues.
  • Interact and liaise with the Regional Board of Directors. Report and consult with members of the Regional Board to ensure coherence and alignment of the region with DNDi’s global mission.
  • Ensure organizational development, including staffing, in close connection with the DNDi Executive team and relevant departments. Supervise human resources, administrative and finance activities. Overview the good development of competencies of our staff and our people in the region for a dynamic, creative and motivated team at the regional level.
  • Guarantee compliance of the activities of DNDi with legal obligations in relevant jurisdictions where the office is operating. Ensure implementation of DNDi high ethics standards and values within team and partners. Ensure adherence to DNDi policies and relevant processes; develop and maintain policies and key procedures as appropriate.
  • Based on the existing risk register developed for the region, diligently monitor and raise concern on any risks identified potentially impacting projects and/or DNDi (cost, delay, quality, reputation) and propose mitigation measures to ensure timely and compliant delivery of the studies.

In addition, he/she will be responsible for managing or participating in specific projects at the request of the Executive Director and be a member of the extended Executive Team.

The Regional Executive Director of Latin America reports to the Executive Director of DNDi based in Geneva – Switzerland.


  • Advanced degree (ideally a mix of science, public health and management),
  • 15 years’ experience in relevant fields and international environment,
  • Understanding of and exposure to global health issues,
  • Understanding of drug development,
  • Understanding of regional realities and trends in Latin America,
  • Gravitas/credibility/authority to represent DNDi at the highest level within governmental bodies, foundations and other potential donors,
  • Strong connections in Latin America,
  • Excellent communication skills,
  • Team player and open minded with demonstrated management capacities in a matrix environment,
  • Collaborative working style, creative and highly motivated,
  • Flexibility for travelling in the region or internationally,
  • Fluency in Portuguese, Spanish, and English are essential,
  • The position is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

To apply

  • Please send via email only a letter explaining why you are applying for this post and an up-to-date copy of your CV/resume to
  • Accepting applications until July 10th 2015
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.