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Request for Information: review of COVID-19 response in cities

Posted: March 17, 2021

Purpose and Scope

Vital Strategies is seeking Service providers/independent contractors to co-design and support a review of COVID-19 response in cities. The aim of the review is to further understand the role of cities and urban areas in responding to future health threats, the challenges and opportunities of coordination with national response, and potential for strengthening urban-specific epidemic preparedness. The results of this review will help define organizational roles and priorities in the urban preparedness landscape beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

The purpose of this Request For Information (RFI) is to identify Service providers/independent contractors who can undertake the aforementioned review in collaboration with Vital Strategies’ technical advisors and develop a white paper documenting important findings, including the challenges and opportunities that cities have faced in epidemic preparedness and response and recommend potential opportunities for strengthening health security.

Vital Strategies Organizational Background

Vital Strategies is an international public health organization headquartered in New York City. Vital Strategies develops and oversees programs that strengthen public health systems and address leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, providing expertise in project implementation and management, strategic communications, and other core public health capabilities to guide policy and decision-making. Specific programs include road safety, obesity prevention, tobacco control, and data for health. Activities take place in a range of low- and middle-income cities in over 60 countries.

Our experts provide technical and professional guidance to partners and government agencies. We speak out, through press releases, publications, social media, and participation in convenings and conferences against the practices of tobacco and the sugary drinks industries. Vital Strategies does not accept gifts or funds from industries related to tobacco, sugary drinks and alcoholic drinks. We actively seek to engage with stakeholders who share our values and seeks to work with partners who endorse and encourage the highest ethical work practices and standards.

Resolve to Save Lives Organizational Background

Resolve to Save Lives (RTSL) is a global health initiative of Vital Strategies that since 2017 has been working closely with governments, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, academic and other partners in a number of low- and middle-income countries to improve cardiovascular health and strengthen national capacity to prevent, detect and respond to epidemic threats. In March 2020, Resolve to Save Lives formed a COVID-19 Incident Management System to control and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus in vulnerable low- and middle-income countries and the United States. The focus for this work is strengthening the technical, policy and operational capacity of national partners to effectively control COVID.


Vital Strategies is seeking competitive proposals from qualified service providers/independent contractors to provide services to Vital Strategies.

The purpose of this review is to build organizational knowledge and understanding of the lessons learned and challenges faced by cities during implementation of urban COVID-19 response activities. The results of this review will help to inform RTSL’s priorities in the urban preparedness landscape beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Project Overview

Under the supervision of the Senior Vice President for Prevent Epidemics at RTSL, and in close coordination with the Director of the Partnership for Healthy Cities (PHC), the consultant will lead a review of a selection of cities’ COVID-19 responses, including work funded directly by PHC.

The consultant/s will work collaboratively with Vital Strategies/RTSL staff on the finalization of the methodology and white papers to ensure organizational views and considerations are also integrated.

The consultant/s will work remotely and on a flexible schedule to accommodate New York, European, or African time zones.

The consultant/s will be responsible for submitting in a timely manner the required deliverables outlined in Annex A of this document.

Instructions for Respondents

1. Contact Person. Service providers/independent contractors shall send their notification of intent to bid, refer any questions, and submit their proposals via email to Amanda McClelland and Ariella Rojhani at

2. Due Date. Proposals must be submitted in PDF format to Amanda McClelland and Ariella Rojhani by April 1 at 5.00 PM EST.

3. Proposal Submission. Proposals shall outline experience in the technical area as well as suggested approaches to data collection and potential frameworks to support analysis (e.g. IHR ME) and will include answers to all questions (Annex B). The proposal should also include estimated time required/ daily rate or cost estimates to complete the deliverables and be emailed in PDF format, together with all relevant and any supporting documentation, to:

Prevent Epidemics at

with Review of Urban COVID-19 Response in the subject line, by 5.00 PM EST on April 1

4. Selection Criteria. The Service Provider’s responses shall be evaluated by a committee of Vital Strategies and Resolve to Save Lives staff members. Selection criteria shall include:

  • Experience with designing and implementing evaluation frameworks for public health programming with an emphasis on epidemic preparedness and response or urban health
  • Quality of suggested methodology approach
  • Time and cost
  • Quality of oral and written communication skills, including experience writing technical reports and guidance
  • Fluency in English with a working knowledge of Spanish or French preferred
  • Strong qualitative and quantitative analysis skills

  • Annex A

    Scope of Work

    Effective Date: 1 May 2021

    Termination Date: 31 August 2021

    Site of work (City): Remote

    Site of work (Country): United States of America

    Project Overview:

    1. Background for requesting the service;

    The Partnership for Healthy Cities (PHC), supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Vital Strategies, is a global network of 70 cities whose mayors have committed to prevent noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) —including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and chronic lung disease—and injuries through proven interventions. In March 2020, the PHC team, in collaboration with the Preventing Epidemics from RTSL developed a mini-grant program to provide immediate technical and financial support to cities to enable them to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and address disparities, including among vulnerable populations within their communities. As a result of this effort, PHC and RTSL established relationships with cities’ emergency response leaders and gained insight into the development and implementation of urban pandemic responses.

    RTSL is seeking a consultant to design and conduct a review to further understand the role of cities and municipalities in responding to health threats, the challenges and opportunities of coordination with national response, and potential for building urban-specific epidemic preparedness in the long term. The review will include gathering lessons learnt from cities that have implemented the PHC small grants, documenting their approaches, success and challenges to help inform best practice and additional opportunities. The results of this review will help define organizational roles and priorities in the urban preparedness landscape beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

    2. Price/remuneration information

    Service providers/contractors will be paid in US Dollars. Payment will be issued once service providers/consultants meet deliverables and submit an invoice unless otherwise agreed at the point of contract negotiation.

    3. Deliverables and timelines

    The Independent Contractor shall complete the deliverables in a manner consistent with the degree of care and skill ordinarily exercised by members of the same profession. All deliverables should be submitted directly to the Contract Manager.


    Annex B

    The proposal should include the following information:

    1. Provide a short technical proposal of no more than four pages for undertaking the work as outlined in the requirements stated above. Please include a detailed cost breakdown, the preferred daily rate for services rendered, delivery times, and other relevant information.

    2. Please provide a resume that includes any previous experience which you consider may benefit this project.

    3. Complete our Contract Partner Information Form: List the contract manager as the point of contact at Vital Strategies on the contract partner information form.