Unit Head, High Impact Epidemics (EHI), P6

The World Health Organization (WHO) Geneva, Switzerland

About the World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO is building a better, healthier future for people all over the world.
Working with 194 Member States, across six regions, and from more than 150 offices, WHO staff are united in a shared commitment to achieve better health for everyone, everywhere.

WHO strives to combat diseases – communicable diseases like influenza and HIV, and noncommunicable diseases like cancer and heart disease.
WHO helps mothers and children survive and thrive so they can look forward to a healthy old age. They ensure the safety of the air people breathe, the food they eat, the water they drink – and the medicines and vaccines they need.

Their goal is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and well-being.

You can find further details on their website https://www.who.int/.


Role Purpose

The purpose of the position is to provide senior technical expertise and cross-cutting programme coordination and management in high impact epidemics within the Department of Health Emergency Interventions (HEI) broadening the scope of the Department's programme area of work in its respective field of expertise. The Unit Head positions the work of HEI and will coordinate and create new policies and strategies to address global needs. The Unit Head provides senior technical leadership in its specialized area of expertise and ensures the coordination of the programme area of work across the three levels of the Organization.

Objectives of the Programme and of the immediate Strategic Objective

The mission of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme (The Programme) is to build the capacity of Member States to manage health emergency risks and, when national capacities are overwhelmed, to lead and coordinate the international health response to contain outbreaks and to provide effective relief and recovery to affected populations. The WHE Response division (WRE) is responsible for rapidly detecting and responding to health emergencies while leveraging relevant national and international partnerships, ensuring that emergency-affected populations in acute and protracted emergencies have access to essential health services and that systems are maintained and strengthened in fragile, conflict and vulnerable settings while implementing at scale, proven prevention strategies for priority pandemic/epidemic-prone diseases. The HEI Department is responsible for ensuring that emergency-affected populations have access to timely and effective health services, ranging from humanitarian interventions, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Fragile, Vulnerable and Conflict Affected Settings (FCVs) to key high impact epidemic diseases including Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers (VHFs), Yellow Fever (YF), Meningitis and Cholera. The Department prioritizes support to the most vulnerable and low-capacity countries


Organizational context

Reporting to and under the general guidance of the Director HEI, the position provides technical leadership and coordination in control of key high impact epidemic diseases to ensure efficient management of a technical unit in developing the technical policy and guidance in the Department's work on key high impact epidemic diseases to achieve the programme objectives in line with the Mission of the Organization. The Unit Head will build technical partnerships with UN Agencies, Donor institutions, counterparts in Ministries of Health in Member States and other, cutting-edge research institutions and other stakeholders.

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of Assigned Duties

General Duties:
  • Coordinates and provides senior technical leadership in establishing new approaches, evidence-based policies and strategies, surveillance, and capacity building initiatives for implementation across Regional and Country Office programmes in the respective area of work.
  • Provides senior-level health technical expertise and advice to the Director and Senior Management in the area of key high impact epidemic diseases on the development and establishment of new health strategies and policies for implementation into and/or the monitoring and evaluation of national and global policies.
  • Ensures effective coordination, management, and accountability of the programme area in delivering its objectives through efficient management of an adverse team of technical experts, financial resources, and effective work plan coordination to optimize the programme's deliverables in line with the mandate of the Organization.
  • Ensures the coordination and management of the monitoring and evaluation and reporting of the Department's area of work of key performance indicators and global reporting requirements and mechanisms to optimize performance of Department deliverables.
  • Serves as the scientific/technical reference among UN Agencies and the peer community on key high impact epidemic diseases.
  • Builds technical partnerships with other UN Agencies, Donors, research institutions and other stakeholders in key high impact epidemic diseases to position the technical area of work and implementation into respective policies.
  • Represent the programme area of work in global fora and capacity building activities Performs all other related duties as assigned.

Specific duties
  • Lead the HEI Unit
  • Lead WHO's work under GPW output 2.2.2.
  • Explore and enhance partnerships within WHE and WHO and with external partners, in particular those in the Global Health scene
Education, Qualifications & Experience
  • Teamwork
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
  • Communication
  • Driving the Organization to a Successful Future
  • Moving forward in a changing environment
  • Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond
  • Creating an empowering and motivating environment

Functional Knowledge and Skills
  • Globally respected level of technical expertise and knowledge of infectious diseases, particularly in those areas critical for promoting a public health perspective and approach, such as infectious disease epidemiology, prevention or control, and significant practical application of this knowledge in an international context.
  • Proven understanding of the management of acute and complex public health responses, including infectious disease outbreaks in humanitarian emergencies.
  • Strong skills in the area of developing and establishing polices and strategies.
  • Excellent skills and ability in managing diverse teams and financial resources.
  • Strong understanding and skills in mobilizing resources.
  • Ability to engage, build consensus and communicate effectively and diplomatically with Member States, partners, and media.
  • Commitment to collaborate effectively with other key partners in the Health Subject area.

  • Essential: An advanced university degree in medicine, public health, or epidemiology in infectious diseases related to the functions of the position.
  • Desirable: A PhD in one of the above-mentioned fields.

  • A minimum of 15 years of professional experience in the management of key high impact epidemic diseases, including experience providing senior-level advice and guidance to Senior Management/Decision-makers.
  • Experience managing human and financial resources.
  • Experience in the area of developing and establishing policies and strategies.
  • Demonstrated experience at the international level.

  • Proficient knowledge of English.
  • Good working knowledge of French.
  • Knowledge of another WHO official language will be an asset.

Other Skills
  • Strong presentation skills.
  • Good skills in office packages, and ERP based systems

How to Apply
If you wish to be considered for this position, please send the most recent English version of your CV to [email protected] on or before 14 August 2022.  All information will be treated in the strictest confidence as we pride ourselves on our professional service.

SRI Executive is exclusively retained by WHO to undertake this assignment.