Terms of Reference – Data Scientist, Epidemiological Surveillance

Background

The Ministry of Health and Wellness seeks to strengthen the capacity for analysis of surveillance data at the national level.  This is in recognition of the increased availability of data and need for rational use of data to inform interventions. This includes the use of data generated from HIV treatment sites (public and private), laboratories (public and private), other routine surveillance activities, and other new data sources. It is apparent in light of recent outbreaks that a critical component of the national surveillance system is the ability to maintain capacity and remain resilient in the face of new public health threats.  The system must therefore be able to maintain routine data management functions while responding to increased demand for useful information synthesized in the face of public health threats.

To this end, the Ministry of Health and Wellness is building a data science team capable of processing large volumes of routine and new or Big data in ways that meet the needs of various stakeholders.  This includes building the capacity to develop and maintain resilient systems for timely data capture, processing and information synthesis and dissemination.  The focus will be on HIV data management systems improvement leading to more accurate data including ensuring the accuracy of the data for making decisions and the denominators used for calculating indicators of programme effectiveness.  The data science team will consist of existing staff with the addition of data scientists and other staff who will enhance the analytical capabilities at the national level and improve the capacity for data analysis and use at the subnational levels.

A Data Scientist will be recruited to optimize data sensing, collection, and transmission.  This consultant will form the liaison between the epidemiology and information technology components of the surveillance system and will safeguard the appropriateness and integrity of data from the point of capture to analysis and reporting.

 

Objective(s)

  • Assess HIV surveillance data sources, collection, and pipeline in keeping with information needs
  • Improve the efficiency of data sensing, collection, and transmission/pipeline processes
  • Improve the effectiveness and use of data collection and transmission activities
  • Knowledge transfer for sustainability of systems implemented and application to surveillance for other priority infectious diseases

 

Scope of Work

  • Assess HIV data requirements
    • Collaborate with Medical Epidemiologists to determine information needed to guide programme decisions and policy
    • Collaborate with business and data analysts to assess and select appropriate infrastructure and processes to suit information needs
    • Assess system for removing AIDS deaths from datasets at all levels
  • Collaborate with the Business Analyst to implement infrastructure and process improvement initiatives
  • Collaborate with national Health Informatics and Systems Information Technology Unit to improve existing HIV (and other priority disease) surveillance data pipelines and automate internal work processes and work-flows at all levels
    • Create and maintain optimal data pipeline architecture
    • Design and implement internal process improvements, automating manual processes and optimizing data delivery – this includes the system to identify and remove AIDS deaths from the PLHIV dataset
    • Collaborate with other member of the CoAg team to train staff and other stakeholders in processes relevant to their role in the production and manipulation of data
  • Design and implement processes and systems to monitor data quality and processes
    • Develop data quality monitoring reporting system
    • Develop and implement data quality reporting system
    • Train staff and stakeholders in the use of data quality monitoring products
  • Work closely with data entry staff, data base officers, analysts, and epidemiologists as well as the informatics and information technology teams at the field and national levels to troubleshoot, select and deploy appropriate solutions to surveillance data challenges at the national and field levels
  • Prepare and provide to relevant stakeholder documentation regarding processes and trouble-shooting procedures
  • Assess resource needs and initiate procurement of required hardware and software in collaboration with administrative staff
  • Design and implement dashboard for on-demand access to ‘first 90’component of cascade and other key indicators by relevant stakeholders
  • Train all stakeholders in the use of the dashboards

 

Responsibilities of the Ministry of Health and Wellness

  • The Ministry of Health and Wellness will provide access by the Data Scientist to the relevant data and hardware and software tools to facilitate completion of specified tasks. The Ministry will also provide guidance and feedback to ensure adequacy of work outputs.

 

Responsibility of the Contractor

  • The Contractor will ensure that (i) assigned tasks and regular duties are effectively carried out in accordance with the Data Protection Act (ii) support is provided to sub-national teams in a timely manner and (iii) confidentiality is maintained in the execution of duties.

 

Accountability and Reporting Systems

  • Services will be contracted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. The Contractor will report to the Medical Epidemiologist, Communicable Disease Surveillance, and will also work with the Principal Medical Officer, National Epidemiologist.

 

Special Working Conditions

  • The incumbent may be required to work beyond the usual working hours, including on weekends, in order to complete assigned tasks
  • The incumbent will be required to travel to sites in the parishes as needed to carry out assigned tasks
  • The incumbent will be exposed to highly sensitive personal health data

 

Deliverables

Table 1.  Key Deliverables

Deliverable Due Amount Payable
1.     Detailed work plan Within one (1) month of signing contract 2%
2.     Data Quality Assessment Plan Within six (6) weeks of signing contract 3%
3.     Data Analytics work-flow Within three (3) months of signing contract 10%
4.     Documented, implemented, and functional mechanism for routine mortality verification Within six (6) months of signing  the contract 13%
5.     Data Quality Report   (in acceptable formats) Quarterly beginning four (4) months after signing contract 5% per report (20%)
6.     Parish level HIV epidemiology reports accessible to parish and RHA staff Within six (6) months 10%
7.     Incremental improvements in data quality at all levels – including as evidenced by mortality verification exercise reports Assessed quarterly 2.5% per report (10%)
8.     Monthly Work-Plan Report Monthly 1% per report
9.     Data pipelines optimized for all levels Within eight (8) months of signing contract 10%
10.  ‘First 90’ cascade component accessible to key stakeholders on demand Within 10 months of signing contract 10%

 

Eligibility Requirements

The Contractor should have:

  • An undergraduate degree in Statistics or other Mathematics or Computer Science discipline
  • A graduate degree in Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Public Health, Computer Science, or other appropriate subject area
  • Advanced Proficiency in SQL
  • Experience with SQL and NoSQL databases including Postgres
  • Experience working with structured and unstructured datasets
  • Experience in building and optimizing data pipelines, architectures and datasets
  • Experience with assessment of data systems and processes for business improvement
  • Intermediate to advance proficiency in object-oriented/object function scripting languages: Python, Java, C++
  • Experience with ‘big data tools’: Hadoop, Spark, Kafka, an asset
  • Strong project management skills
  • Experience working with cross-functional teams

 

Funding

Funding for the contracted service will be supported through the CDC Cooperative Agreement allocation to the Ministry of Health and Wellness. The CDC has committed to funding activities under the Cooperative Agreement for the next five years.

 

Duration

The duration of the contract will be for the period of one year. The option for renewal will be subject to the availability of additional funds from the CDC over the five years of the Cooperative Agreement.   

  Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of :
  Evaluation Criteria Max. Score Actual Score
  An undergraduate degree in Statistics or other Mathematics or Computer Science discipline 30  
  Advanced Proficiency in SQL 30  
  Experience with SQL and NoSQL databases including Postgres 10  
  Experience in building and optimizing data pipelines, architectures and datasets 10  
  Intermediate to advance proficiency in object-oriented/object function scripting languages: Python, Java, C++ 10  
  Experience with ‘big data tools’: Hadoop, Spark, Kafka, an asset 10  
  Total Score 100  

Candidate must attain a minimum mark of 70 to be considered