HIV Access and Medical Affairs Leader

Attached to the East Africa Regional Office (Nairobi, Kenya)
Based in Kenya or based in South Africa or other African country and willing to commute to Nairobi for approximately 50% of their working time
[Closing date: 26 August 2019] Updated 16 August 2019


Established in 2003, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a collaborative, patients’ needs-driven, non-profit drug research and development (R&D) organization that is developing new treatments for Neglected Diseases (

After 15 years of sustained growth, DNDi has built a team of approximately 200 full-time employees working across nine offices (Geneva, Rio de Janeiro, Kinshasa, Nairobi, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Tokyo, and Cape Town).

DNDi Africa was established in 2003, and is based at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Headquarters in Nairobi. This DNDi regional office conducts R&D projects in the region, including clinical activities and data management for clinical trials for treatments for leishmaniasis, paediatric HIV, hepatitis C, mycetoma, and others. It also leads capacity building projects through multi-country research platforms.

DNDi began working on paediatric HIV in 2012 and on hepatitis C in 2015, and the two programmes were grouped together in the HIV & Hepatitis C initiative in 2018. In HIV, DNDi aims to develop a new fixed-dose combination for HIV-positive infants and young children to replace existing treatment options that are unpalatable and highly unsuitable for use in resource-limited settings. In hepaittis C, DNDi seeks to foster a public health approach to the disease and expand access to highly effective direct-acting antivirals, including by developing a simple and affordable treatment combination that can be used for all strains of hepatitis C.

The team is based in Geneva, Nairobi, New York, and Kuala Lumpur.


Purpose of the position

This position provides policy and medical expertise on access to HIV medicines and public health for DNDi in sub-Saharan Africa.

The main purpose of the position is to design and successfully implement the DNDi paediatric HIV Access Plan for sub-Saharan Africa. The Access and Medical Affairs Leader will be primarily tasked with setting up the necessary working groups which, country-by-country, will identify the key barriers to access for paediatric HIV treatments, and design action plans to overcome these barriers. S/he will establish relationships with key stakeholders relevant for the implementation of these working groups, such as public health officials, supply chain specialists, healthcare providers, researchers, NGOs, civil society, drug manufacturers, etc., ensure consistency between the way they operate, and develop synergies as appropriate. As the front-line person of the Access Plan, s/he will play a major role in assessing the effectiveness of the Access Plan and in-country action plans, and, very importantly, to propose changes needed to remedy pitfalls. S/he will also be asked to provide medical support to the HIV clinical development team and liaise with other relevant Medical Affairs Senior team and functions (Quality Assurance, Pharmacovigilance, and Regulatory Affairs). The Access and Medical Affairs Leader will work collaboratively within the HIV & Hepatitis C teams and cross-functionally as well to ensure alignment and coordination with the disease teams in the region and globally. While initially focused on paediatric HIV, the position may involve across other disease areas based on the evolution of DNDi’s medicines portfolio.


Specific job responsibilities

  • Within the framework of the HIV Access Plan, set up and ensure coordination of in-country working groups on paediatric HIV in priority sub-Saharan African countries. They will aim to coordinate the activities of existing HIV stakeholders to build sustainable access to optimal treatment for HIV-positive children. These working groups will first identify barriers to access, then design ways to overcome them in a sustainable way.
  • Facilitate a constructive dialogue among the relevant actors in the countries (government, funders, academia, researchers, civil society, NGOs, etc.), in close coordination with the Geneva-based Senior Manager for Access HIV who coordinates interactions with global stakeholders
  • Coordinate the work of the in-country working groups to ensure their efficiency and develop synergies where relevant in fields such as supply chain management, training and educational initiatives, advocacy, research projects, etc.
  • Assess, on an ongoing basis, the performance of the Access Plan, and propose changes needed to overcome pitfalls
  • Represent DNDi in different for a such as scientific conferences, international meetings, high level policy meetings, and technical groups working on access to peadiatric HIV medicines
  • Consolidate information on health policies and scientific information on HIV, with a focus on paediatric HIV
  • Constantly update mapping of the main stakeholders working on HIV in each priority country

Medical and public health affairs representation and expertise

  • Evaluates the need or not for a DSMB (with the validation of the Direct Manager and the Medical Director, and gather medical evidence, data around unmet medical needs to facilitate analysis and prospection, support the Regional Director of East Africa in fundraising efforts, and provide technical inputs and medical/scientific rational in proposal
  • Serve as a reference for the office on scientific and medical/technical information related to DNDi’s portfolio in NTDs and HIV in Africa  
  • Provide scientific and technical inputs for press releases, presentations, internal newsletters, scientific publications, etc. and organize programmes/events to educate and raise awareness about disease areas and innovations to address unmet medical needs
  • Prepare and attend scientific events, congresses in the region in liaison with the R&D team
  • Establish and maintain strong scientific and clinical relationships with medical professions, researchers, NGOs, public health officials, and other key stakeholders regionally and in-country
  • Help to develop/strengthen relationships with and raise the DNDi’s profile among policy makers, academia, science leaders, industry associations, media, community advocates, and other influential organizations in Africa
  • Respond to media requests and give interviews and maintains close communication and interactions with other opinion leader spokespeople, as appropriate
  • Build partnerships with community organizations to advance mutual goals on public health
  • On an ad hoc basis, provide medical support to the global and local HIV clinical development team and other relevant functions (e.g. communications, fundraising, policy, etc.). This may involve writing and reviewing scientific and communication documents and reports, contributing to the management of adverse events, providing advice on scientific and medical issues, etc.

Member of the Nairobi-Regional Management team

  • Be part of the regional management team, and take part of the development of the regional strategy under the supervision of the Regional Executive Director
  • Be part of the preparation and implementation of the regional Action Plan
  • Participate to the preparation of the annual budget, as well as their regular revisions
  • Identify potential risks impacting projects and/or DNDi activities as well as discuss them to address and suggest mitigation strategies with the other Management team members
  • Participate in the monthly management team meetings in the region as well as ensure a fluid regional internal communication
  • Participate in the Nairobi Cross Disease Task Force meeting as a member


Reporting line

  • S/he reports to the HIV & HCV Initiative Director
  • Contributing managers: Director East Africa Regional Office and Medical Affairs Director


Job requirements

Skills and attributes

  • High ability to use initiative, prioritize, multi-task, and work well under pressure to meet deadlines
  • Very clear and systematic thinking that demonstrates strong judgment and problem solving competencies
  • Excellent communication, and public speaking skills, ability to convince and represent DNDi at high level events
  • Knowledge of managing global multicultural teams
  • Highly organized and structured
  • High analytical skills
  • High ability to lead large strategic projects
  • High ability to manage large size projects with budget management
  • Very strong strategic thinking and leadership abilities
  • Excellent management, negotiation, and advocacy skills
  • High ability to exercise high degree of independence to ensure program delivery and explore new areas of activities
  • High ability to interact with internal and external stakeholders
  • High ability to lead and motivate a team for optimum performance

R&D technical skills

  • Proven track record in Public Health, Infectious Diseases, Paediatrics, or Clinical Development
  • Good knowledge of Clinical Research/Development
  • Excellent knowledge of disease/academia knowledge
  • Excellent technical writing skills (procedures, protocols and reports)


  • Over 10 years in Senior role in Access, Policy and/or Medical Affairs
  • Experience in all African countries is highly desirable
  • Proven ability to work effectively in a team environment and matrix structure
  • Experience of working in public and private sector is highly desirable
  • Proven track record in the field of HIV


  • MD degree only, with advanced post graduate degree or pharmacist/scientific degree

Other requirements

  • Fluency in English
  • Proficiency in French and local languages desirable
  • Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Suite


Other information

  • Status: full time – consultancy


To apply

  • Deadline for application: accepting applications until 26 August 2019
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted
  • Application submission for this position may close early if we have enough suitable applicants