London, Greater London


About the organisation

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) provides life-saving emergency relief and longer-term med... Read more

Job Description

Job Title: Health Policy Advisor

Department: Programmes Department

Reports to: Head of Programmes

Location: London

Duration: Permanent

Hours: 40 hours per week

Salary Grade: 5.1

Salary: £47,451.62


Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) provides life-saving emergency relief and longer-term medical care to some of the most vulnerable and excluded communities around the world. As an independent medical humanitarian organisation, we deliver care based only on need, regardless of ethnic origin, gender, religion or political affiliation.

MSF relies on donations from private individuals and organisations for the majority of its income. This private funding gives MSF the freedom to respond where needs are greatest and to speak out publicly, free from any political interference.

MSF has around 40,000 local and international staff working in over 70 countries, in some of the most challenging places in the world. Our medical humanitarian projects are supported by teams in 32 countries, including the UK, spread across Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

At MSF UK, we support MSF’s operations by building relationships with our supporters, increasing awareness of our work, raising funds, providing specialist medical expertise, catalysing change on medical humanitarian issues, and recruiting field staff. MSF UK personnel are dynamic, hard-working, enthusiastic and committed to MSF’s values and aims. 


The Programme Unit (PU) forms a field-experienced team working in support of MSF operations, policy and practice in the humanitarian arena.  This work is accomplished through analysis, research, representation and advocacy relevant to MSF’s work in the field and/or out of the greater medical-humanitarian context.  Our work is derived from and informed by concerns that emanate from our field projects.  It also capitalises on MSF-UK’s positioning in London/UK and proximity to institutions and individuals that help to shape the environments in which we work. 

The UK is a key player in humanitarian and global health issues. Both governmental and non-governmental actors (including both the private and the NGO sector) play important roles in international politics; the funding and delivery of humanitarian assistance; and the development of international health policy and delivery of healthcare.  MSF, as a leading provider of independent, medical humanitarian assistance, can make a critical, distinct and influential contribution to these debates, as well as bringing key points back to inform our own practice. Lying at the heart of MSF-UK/IE’s strategic plan, the work of the Programme Unit is central to establishing MSF as a credible and critical voice within the UK environment.

The PU works in support of OCA (taking responsibility for some strategic priorities identified in the OCA Strategic Plan) and the MSF movement.  For OCA, the Programmes Unit supports the Emergency Desk, Deputy Director of Operations and the Public Health Department. 

The Programme Unit Humanitarian Adviser forms part of MSF’s Humanitarian Representation Team (HRT) and the Health Policy Adviser provide support to the Access Campaign (AC) and Global Health Actors Network (GHAN). Both have strong links to OSCAR, OCA operational communications and advocacy). The PU stimulates internal discussion, supports movement-level reflection projects (e.g. the analysis of the aid system) and maintains close contact with counterparts in the various reflection centres.  The PU also project manages initiatives of various sizes and complexity such as the Leadership and Education Academic Partnership (LEAP) programme. This is a movement-wide higher education programme.  This complex and ambitious initiative will bring Masters-level education to MSF personnel around the world in collaboration with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Manchester University.


To contribute to MSF’s overall purpose of providing quality, medical humanitarian assistance to vulnerable groups by:

  1. Ensuring that MSF concerns on issues related to global health policy and the delivery of quality healthcare including affordable access to appropriate diagnostics, vaccines and medicines, as experienced in our field projects, are conveyed to the relevant UK actors (government, NGOs, private sector, academic community and think tanks) and that these efforts influence or effect change in policy and practice
  2. To directly contribute to and where relevant to lead, the development of advocacy strategy, in countries where MSF is operational and on a global level in connection
  3. Providing analytical and advisory support to the OCA Public Health Department, OSCAR and field teams on the impact of specific aspects of international health policy and practice on vulnerable groups in the places where MSF works
  4. Provide leadership and OCA representation to the GHAN
  5. Contributing to the evolution of MSF policy and practice through direct contribution to and facilitation of exchange between policy debates within MSF and those happening in the UK
  6. Monitor and analyse the policy discussions and positioning of key UK actors (government, academia, pharmaceutical and biotech industry, civils society, foundations in particular the Welcome Trust) in the field of medical innovation and access, in particular in AC priority areas (TB, AMR, Vaccines)
  7. The Global Health Policy Advisor will also be expected to support other functions in the Programme Unit notably the Humanitarian Advisor

Position within MSF

  • Hierarchically reports to the Head of Programmes of MSF-UK and works closely with all members of the Communications Department, Manson Unit, Programme Unit and MSF’s office in Ireland
  • Functionally reports to the OCA Medical Director (or delegate) and works closely with Public Health Department
  • Maintains a close working relationship with the Access Campaign and leads on OCA representation to the Global Health Actors Network (GHAN)


  • Develop MSF-UK’s knowledge and expertise of current UK government policies/initiatives that impact upon global health including funding priorities. To ensure dissemination of those policies/initiatives most relevant for MSF operations and movement
  • Directly contribute to the GHAN by providing relevant analysis on the current UK & global health trends and/or changes and these might directly or indirectly impact upon MSF operations
  • To keep abreast of and plan strategic engagement with key UK & global health actors.
  • Deliver on health related advocacy needs of the MSF movement including the OCA, field and HQ; AC; the International Office; the Public Health Department of the OCA and the GHAN
  • Foster and maintain a network of policy makers, NGOs, umbrella groups and academics working in the global health field in the UK, facilitating dialogue and exchange with the MSF movement
  •  In close cooperation with the OCA, GHAN, AC, develop and implement advocacy strategy linking MSF’s key concerns on international health policy and practice and UK Government policy utilising the external network developed
  • Engage with selected policy issues within MSF, linking MSF policy-makers to UK-based actors and issues
  • Support the Head of MSF-IE (Ireland) in developing knowledge and expertise of current Irish government policies/initiatives that impact upon global health including funding priorities. To ensure dissemination of those policies/initiatives most relevant for MSF operations and movement 
  • Support the Head of MSF-IE networking with the global health community in Ireland and related advocacy efforts
  • Work with teams in operational headquarters and the field to develop advocacy strategy in countries where MSF is operational, linking national level efforts with international advocacy strategies 
  • Work with teams in operational headquarters, the AC and the field, to understand and document how selected international health policies and practice play out on a country level and impact vulnerable groups with whom MSF works
  • Support operational headquarters and the field with information and analysis of current and emerging health policy that the UK Government does/does not support (e.g. user fees, contracting out, decentralisation, human resource retention) measures 
  • Implement selected OCA and AC objectives and activities in the UK, namely those most pertinent to UK policy-makers and practitioners 
  • Work with the Communications Department of MSF-UK to highlight MSF concerns on global health policy and practice, targeting external media outlets (OpEd, letters, articles, interviews etc) and internal MSF publications (Talking Drums, Ins and Outs etc)
  • Contribute to the strengthening of Programme Unit advocacy systems, in collaboration with Humanitarian Advisor 
  • Collaborate with MSF-UK/IE colleagues in the promotion of debate and discussion on operational issues within the office and association
  • To support other departments on request e.g. Human Resources, MSF-UK Induction Days, fundraising and major donor events for example
  • To develop internal training sessions and seminars to encourage debate and learning on Global Health issues. This especially useful for professional development for health advisors and medical coordinators (through remote learning forums)
  • To maintain commitment to the aims and values of MSF through proactive involvement in and attendance at ongoing MSF-UK/IE and wider movement activities


Essential requirements:

  • Significant field experience with MSF in a medical coordination position.
  • Medical Degree, Para-Medical Degree or Masters Degree in a health-related field. 
  • Prov en representation, communication and negotiation skills combined with a willingness to act as a spokesperson.
  • Knowledge/experience of current issues relating to global health, access to medicines and healthcare.
  • Have a good understanding of the key global health actors (in or outside health sector) based in the UK that impact upon global health policies
  • To understand the UK environment and government (foreign policy and/or funding) that impact global heath
  • A demonstrable understandi ng of and commitment to humanitarian issues
  • Fluency in English
  • Ability t o work independently; capacity to take initiatives and seize opportunities.
  • Availability to travel to both other MSF offices and field projects, exceptionally for extended periods 
  • Computer literate (Word, Excel, Internet)
  • Commitment to the aims and values of MSF

Desirable requirements:

  • Experience of UK directed advocacy work related to health issues with a d emonstrable network of contacts within relevant policy makers, NGOs, academics in the UK 
  • Fluency in French
  • Experience of working with the media
  • Knowledge and understanding of how global medical policies and guidelines are developed
  • Knowledge and understanding of the global health policy debates in the area of access to medicines and medical innovation
  • Direct experience in developing or influencing global health policies and agendas