Internship: Epidemiologist, Khayelitsha project MSF South Africa

Internship: Epidemiologist, Khayelitsha project MSF South Africa


The MSF Khayelitsha project provides support to HIV, TB, and DR TB programmes being run by local government in the sub-district. Part of this support involves piloting innovative strategies to promote virologic suppression, long term retention in care, and support for high risk groups of HIV positive patients. The HIV data team is responsible for data collection, monitoring, evaluation, and supporting operational research around MSF Khayelitsha project’s HIV-related pilots. The aim is to disseminate key findings and advocacy messages through conferences, publications, and interactions with the local and national Department of Health.

The epidemiologist intern will report to Dr. Ingrid Katz (Harvard Medical School, Harvard Global Health Institute), Dr. Bethany Hedt-Gauthier (Harvard Medical School), and the HIV epidemiologist of MSF Khayelitsha. The epidemiologist intern will be part of a team that includes two medical data processing officers, a data supervisor, and the HIV epidemiologist. They will work be required to work closely with all data team members, and cooperate with all other staff in the Khayelitsha office. This unpaid internship would provide academic opportunities, including mentorship for Masters and Doctoral-level students and potential publication opportunities.


The HIV epidemiologist will work with the intern epidemiologist to devise a work plan that balances the development of the intern epidemiologist and their contribution to the project. This could involve delegation of entire pilots to the intern epidemiologist or a focus on specific types of tasks.

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E)

The epidemiologist intern will assist the HIV epidemiologist with the organization, data management, and quarterly reporting of the M&E of MSF pilot projects, specifically: Outreach Initiation Model, 6-months ARV supply study, PrEP, Postnatal Clubs and a ‘Welcome back services’. This may include development and maintenance of M&E tools for new and ongoing projects, and ad hoc data requests to inform ongoing or planned pilots. Where appropriate, they will also support the capacity building of the data team staff.

Operational research

The intern epidemiologist will be involved in all stages of operational research. This includes:

· Maintenance of an MSF Khayelitsha HIV operational research agenda

· Development of study protocols and analysis plans

· Ethics submissions (new, routine reporting, amendments) to both University of Cape Town Human Research Ethics Committee, and MSF’s Ethics Review Board

· Interim data analyses

· Preparation of conference submissions and potentially manuscripts for journals.

· The intern epidemiologist may have opportunities to get involved in other analyses as capacity allows.


Required qualifications and skills

· Masters in Public Health or MSc Epidemiology, or other related masters in a scientific discipline

· Experience in data cleaning, management and analysis

· Previous training and experience using Stata software.

· Previous experience of data collection software, e.g. REDCap (preferred) or mobile data collection

The ideal candidate would be flexible and willing to adapt to team needs. They should have an interest in improving the health outcomes of people living with HIV, and be committed to balancing research integrity and pragmatic implementation needs.

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