Short - Term Mystery Client Survey Consultant Job at ABT Associates

Abt Associates - The International Development Division focuses on improving the lives and economic well-being of people in lower and middle-income countries. We command technical expertise in health, agriculture, climate change, food security and governance - as well as in international evaluation. Our multi-layered health portfolio includes policy, health promotion and disease prevention, health finance, and health systems management. In partnership with government clients and local experts, our high-quality programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East are known for impact and innovation.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Position: Short - Term Mystery Client Survey Consultant - SHOPS Plus
Job ID: 59424
Job Location: Nigeria 

Job Summary

  • Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development.
  • SHOPS Plus, led by Abt Associates, is increasing tuberculosis (TB) case detection and treatment through private sector multi-cadre networks in Lagos and Kano States in Nigeria. 
  • SHOPS Plus is forming networks of private community health service providers including clinical facilities, stand-alone laboratories, community pharmacies (CPs), and Proprietary Patent Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) who are trained in appropriate TB screening, diagnosis, and treatment practices.
  • To test and evaluate the SHOPS Plus Network model, SHOPS Plus will implement a pre-post study using a standardized patient (i.e. “mystery client”) survey and a medical vignette survey.
  • The study will evaluate the extent to which SHOPS Plus network providers adhere to (and have the knowledge to adhere to) international and national standards of quality for TB screening and subsequent referral for diagnosis and treatment services. This design allows us to assess SHOPS Plus’s possible contributions to changes in service quality in its networks, but does not allow for attribution of any changes in TB service quality to SHOPS Plus interventions.
  • Additionally, because little is known about the overall quality of screening and diagnosis services provided in Lagos and Kano’s overall health system, outside of the SHOPS Plus networks, SHOPS Plus will also implement a single cross-sectional mystery client survey in non-networked private facilities and public clinical facilities located in Lagos and Kano states in early 2019. Such a survey would generate complementary data that could provide an overall snapshot of screening quality in the Lagos and Kano health sectors as a whole.

Key Roles and Responsibilities
In support of this study the consultant will be required to perform the following key tasks:

  • Prepare the Abt team for fieldwork
  • Provide tailored guidance to the Abt team on best practices for implementing standardized patient studies focused on assessing quality of TB services.  Best practices include those piloted and refined by the McGill International TB Centre and others.
  • Provide inputs for and review of the study protocol and sampling approach.
  • Advise the Abt team on standard operating procedures for managing standardized patient data collectors.
  • Advise the Abt team on preparations and considerations needed to obtain IRB approval.
  • Advise the Abt team on development of mystery client cases and survey instruments.
  • Provide inputs for and review of all data collection instruments (including draft mystery client cases, the mystery client exit questionnaire, and the vignette survey instrument). The consultant should draw on best practices and previously piloted/deployed standardized patient tools.
  • Provide guidance on management and oversight of local data collectors
  • Provide guidance on the review of technical bids submitted by potential data collection subcontractors.
  • Provide hiring guidelines that data collection subcontractors can use to recruit appropriate staff to carry out all surveys.
  • Assess whether Abt staff and a local data collection sub-contractor are ready for fieldwork.
  • Oversee data collection training and piloting
  • In consultation with the local data collection firm the consultant (or the consultant’s team) will conduct a 2.5-week training and a one-week pilot in each city.
  • Before and after each pilot, the consultant will help measure the detection rate of whether the SPs were considered fake.
  • The consultant will provide general fieldwork support through periodic emails and calls, as well as other meetings as needed.
  • Technical review of analysis and results outputs
  • Provide a technical review of the Abt team’s data analysis approach and outputs.
  • Provide a technical review of (and if desired, inputs to) a journal manuscript.

Timeframe / Level of Effort:

  • This consultancy work is expected to require 37 days to be completed between January-September 2019.   Exact timing of tasks will be agreed upon once the successful research consultant is identified. The contract is expected to start as soon as possible. 
  • Although the consultant’s services will be needed through September 2019, it is anticipated that most of the most intensive period of the consultancy will be January-April 2019.


  • Prepare the Abt team for fieldwork - 5 days
  • Advise the Abt team on preparations and considerations needed to obtain IRB approval - 1 day
  • Advise the Abt team on development of mystery client cases and survey instruments - 5 day
  • Oversee training of “mystery clients” and piloting - 22 days
  • Provide technical review of analysis and results outputs - 4 days

Preferred Skills / Prerequisites
The contractor must have:

  • Extensive knowledge of the standardized patient research approach
  • Experience leading at least one standardized patient study including creating the standardized patient scenarios and training the data collectors
  • Minimum of 5 years of research experience, preferably in the health sector
  • Proven skills in managing information-gathering logistics, including the ability to recruit experienced field staff
  • Excellent documented knowledge of data management
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and adherence to internationally recognized ethical research policies and procedures
  • Proven knowledge of application of various data quality assurance procedures
  • Good interpersonal relationships
  • Excellent training skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively and clearly in English

Note: This is a consultancy position. You must submit your Resume to the email above in order to be considered for employment.