International Medical Secretariat Officer

  • International Office
  • Geneva, Switzerland

International Medical Secretariat Officer

Job description

Location: Geneva

Duration: Permanent full time position

Starting day: 3rd September 2018

Reporting to: International Medical Secretary

Deadline for application: 27th May 2018

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

MSF International is the legal entity that binds MSF’s 21 sections, 24 associations and other offices together. Based in Geneva, MSF International provides coordination, information and support to the MSF Movement, as well as implements international projects and initiatives as requested. MSF International also provides administrative support to the MSF Access Campaign.


The International Medical Secretariat enhances and strengthens medical leadership at the international level by ensuring that MSF medical priorities and innovations in MSF medical practice are defined, promoted and moved forward, and that these priorities become part of an international agenda addressed through the appropriate processes across the movement. Within the secretariat, the International Medical Secretary (IMS) actively promotes strong links and communication across the main medical operational platforms to ensure leadership and progress for the movement on these medical priorities. The IMS also represents the movement externally, communicating MSF’s views on agreed medical operational priorities, policies and positions.
The International Medical Secretariat Officer position has been created to support the IMS in her/his mission and reports hierarchically to the IMS.


The International Medical Secretariat Officer will support the IMS in the development and follow-up of medical dossiers or key medical issues responding to the evolving MSF field needs and practices. With insight and fresh perspective, s/he will play a crucial role in building a collaborative and supportive work environment in order to assist the IMS to achieve a solid overall medical leadership with a strategic vision and ensure progress of the movement’s medical priorities.

The International Medical Secretariat Officer will proactively help prepare the IMS in her/his external representative role with the aim to communicate and advocate MSF’s views on agreed medical operational priorities, policies and positions.

S/he will be the IMS’s support of choice in terms of sustained, in-depth study or contextual analysis, information cross-checking and development of delegated files and their possible correlations with other subjects.


1.    Strategic support on medical leadership

The International Medical Secretariat Officer acts as the main point of support to the IMS for preparation of and follow-up from the MedOp platform meetings. This includes the preparation and dissemination of elaborated agendas and background documents, reporting on discussions at the meetings, and assistance to ensure implementation of related tasks to achieve outcomes and action points.
Furthermore, the International Medical Secretariat Officer undertakes the following tasks:

  • Researches and develops topics delegated by the IMS in autonomy within agreed timeframes and deadlines;
  • Prepares and presents findings in the form of reports, presentations, briefing papers;
  • Assesses information submitted to the IMS, briefs the IMS, and makes other recommendations as needed;
  • Provides representation, analysis and development of strategic program initiatives to or in consultation with the IMS;
  • Follows up on decisions of international platforms, identifies potential subjects of interest and analysis and submits them to the IMS for approval of research;
  • Establishes a continuous and constructive dialogue with the IMS in order to elicit new ideas or to test and consolidate opinions.

2.    Information management and communication linkage
In addition to the work supporting the MedOp platform, the International Medical Secretariat Officer supports specifically the IMS in relation to specific tasks linked to their role in the following:

  • Core ExCom: The IMS is a voting member, responsible for ensuring that the medical perspective on all agenda items is considered, and medical priorities are retained.
  • IB Medical Standing Committee: The IMS is a member of the IB MSC supporting the IB to provide oversight of MSFs medical action, stimulating visionary and innovative thinking.
  •  Access Campaign Steering Committee: The IMS chairs the AC SC, which provides the AC with strategic orientation and oversight.
  •  RIOD and DirMed: The IMS may be invited to brief/debrief on specific contexts or thematics in order to develop analysis and positioning as needed.
  •  International Office Management Team: The IMS is part of the IO MT, which provides coordination and information support to the MSF movement.

The International Medical Secretariat Officer plays a proactive role in providing communication linkage towards the International Office and the Access Campaign staff and any other stakeholders or platforms. Thus s/he is the focal point to:

  • Relay any relevant information and communication from the IMS as requested by the IMS;
  • On behalf of and as delegated by the IMS, proactively communicate decisions or any relevant information in support of the IMS fulfilling his/her mandate and role (singularly or vis-à-vis his/her platforms);
  • Manage, organize and structure information upon request;
  • Anticipate forthcoming external engagements (conferences, high-level meetings etc.) and internal processes (platform meetings, programmes of work etc.), planning ahead to ensure the IMS is well briefed and prepared for all tasks.

3.    Mutual Accountability Process
The International Medical Secretariat Officer will be delegated specific roles by the IMS specifically in relation with the Mutual Accountability Process.
The process needs to be consolidated and monitored in order to make sure that transparency, reciprocal trust and good practices of information sharing are preserved.

The International Medical Secretariat Officer’s role can include:

  • Consolidating feedback on OCs achievements and failures in relation to the process implementation;
  • Consolidating OCs reports in a form readable to all MSF movement;
  • Establishing the calendar of accountability, according to synchronized OCs accountability calendars;
  • Being repository of the documents sent by OCs, consolidating them and ensuring follow-up by the MSF International Executive as per their defined role.

The International Medical Secretariat Officer shall provide support on other dossiers as requested by the IMS.


Qualifications and work experience

  • Graduate degree in public health, social sciences, humanitarian studies, international law or other related field.
  • Public Health governance knowledge
  • Experience working in the humanitarian/medical sector
  • Field experience with MSF is a significant asset

Specific requirements

  • Genuine commitment to the humanitarian principles and the social mission of MSF;
  • Strong team player, empathic and practiced listener;
  • Able to cope with pressure and handle changing priorities;
  • Autonomous, self-organized, possessing a spirit of initiative and foresight;
  • Capable to organize and structure complex information, analyse it and report the findings in accurate and cogent form;
  • Attention to detail;
  • Strong writing and editing skills;
  • Oral and written fluency in English. Other languages are a plus, particularly French.
  • Strong computer literacy, including experience utilising Office 360 and SharePoint.