As Medical Officer or Focal Point (VPD/IST CA), the incumbent will lead the WHO AFRO response to prevalent Vaccine Preventable Diseases VPDs in the central African sub-region with a focus on contributing to the attainment of the 2030 Sustainale Development Goals for VPDs in the region. Specifically, the incumbent will provide transformational leadership in the development and implementation of the UCN/VPD programme. This will include contributing to the development and country implementation of appropriate VPD and collaborative initiatives towards the University health coverage/communicable and non-communicable diseases (UHC/UCN) cluster. Further, the incumbent will facilitate coordination for implementing regional policies, strategies, programmes and activities in constituent member states. These activities will contribute to building and strengthening the capacity of countries to improve access to integrated health services for VPDs. This will be achieved in the context of strengthened and resilient health systems, contributing to attaining UHC and other health-related SDG targets.
The incumbent will lead the VPD Team in the sub-region in promoting a cohesive approach and driving the integration of appropriate VPD interventions, along with other communicable and noncommunicable disease interventions, into the national health systems of member states. Population sub-groups will be targeted across the life course. S/he will be responsible for initiating and sustaining collaboration with the other UHC/UCN sub-regional, multi-country or regional teams and with the UHC/LC, UHC/HP, EPR and ARD clusters for developing tools and approaches to ensure coordinated and integrated guidance, capacity building and technical support for integrated delivery of VPDs services in countries. In keeping with the goal of promoting working across organisational boundaries, the incumbent will engage in cross-cluster collaboration to drive the integration of appropriate interventions across disease-specific programmes into district health systems using people-centred approaches. S/he will also mobilise partnerships with national and sub-regional institutions, including academia, professional associations, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector and with international partners and regional technical resource networks for concerted actions and financial resources within countries and in the region.
The Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPD) Programme is part of and contributes to the work of the Universal health coverage/Communicable and Non-communicable diseases (UHC/UCN) cluster in the WHO African region. The strategic agenda of the cluster is to reduce disease burden in the WHO African Region, by guiding disease control agenda in Africa and using analytics to inform strategic investments and tailored interventions for disease control”. This approach is underpinned by the guiding principles of a comprehensive whole of society, people-centred, integrated approaches to disease control. The comprehensive whole-of-society approaches to disease control involves (a) coherent implementation of triple response – technical response: implementing diseases specific normative guidance, promoting intervention mixes and deploying medical commodities; health systems response: building capacities of district service delivery systems in disease mapping and stratification, interventions tailoring, and sector/subsector planning; and multi-sectoral response: addressing socio-economic and environmental determinants of diseases through mobilising non-health sectors, communities and stakeholders; (b) disease control partnership of public and private sectors, health and non-health sectors; and (c) community involvement in targeted high-risk communities, focused on managing determinants of diseases, health services demand creation and accountability by local health stewards. The people-centred, integrated approaches to disease control involves; (a) integrated guidance on disease control for each health service delivery platform, a move away from stand-alone disease-specific guidance; and (b) integrated and efficient disease control investments in strengthening the capacity of appropriate health services delivery platforms through the deployment of appropriate technologies and analytics to guide stratification of diseases risks across population groups, development and deployment of comprehensive packages of interventions appropriate for each population group and for each health service delivery platform, and monitoring population access, coverage and impact to leave no one behind.
The specific objectives of the UCN cluster and to which the VPD programme contributes, are to; (i) provide leadership on disease control coordination, partnership and resource mobilization; (ii) contribute to the development of WHO disease control technical products, services and tools including the adoption of new technologies and innovations; (iii) support generation and use of strategic information for action and decision making including optimising investment; and (iv) provide or facilitate the provision of technical support in the deployment of WHO technical products and services and institutional capacity building, including support to national disease programmes and regulatory authorities.
Context – Under the overall guidance of UCN Cluster Director, and direct supervision of VPD Team Lead in the Regional Office, within the scope defined by the global and regional immunization agenda 2030, regional policy guidelines and programmes objectives, the incumbent serves as focal point for all VPD country support activities in the sub-region, overseeing the technical work of the immunization officers at IST level with particular attention on the review and updating of existing immunization strategies and guidelines as required and recommending new initiatives; coordinating the provision of technical support to countries; facilitating coordinated approaches to effective programme management and implementation; leading the work of the VPD/IST CA Team in advocacy and resource mobilization; developing and managing work plans and budgets within the framework of WHO Staff Rules and Regulations, financial rules and AFRO accepted procedures. Within WHO framework, the incumbent will be guiding, coaching, motivating, and managing staff, and proactively resolving problems while promoting teamwork.
Contacts – Duties require ongoing contacts and consultation within the VPD programme and throughout the UCN Cluster in the Regional Office, as well as staff at IST CA and in Country Offices as appropriate, to promote cross-cutting activities and ensure full collaboration and coordination, as well as capacity building activities. Successful results also involve regular contacts to establish and strengthen communication and partnerships with national and sub-regional officials, health professionals, representatives of multi- and bilateral agencies as required, including for resource mobilization and advocacy, academia, inter-governmental organizations and institutions and NGOs; within the delegated authority, the incumbent represents VPD/UCN at sub-regional and national meetings on immunization related activities.
Duties and Responsibilities
The incumbent will be expected to perform the duties and responsible below.
Leadership on disease control coordination, partnerships, and resource mobilization through:
- Building and coordinating a competent and committed team of VPD experts in the development and implementation of strategic and operational initiatives for VPDs control, elimination and/or eradication in the sub-region;
- Developing and/or maintaining partnerships on VPDs with relevant bodies in the sub-region including appropriate Regional Economic Communities (RECs);
- Advancing sub-regional VPDs advocacy, resource mobilization and optimization of VPDs investment efficiency;
- Conceptualizing, formulating, implementing and monitoring bold strategic initiatives on VPDs in the sub-region;
- Developing annual “Sub-Regional Disease Outlook” independently or as part of a regional enterprise.
Development of WHO disease control technical products, services, and tools through:
- Contributing to discussions on priority VPDs Target Product Profiles based on identified country and sub-regional disease control needs;
- Strengthening research and innovation that contribute evidence for developing and/or deploying WHO VPDs products and services in the sub-region;
- Coordinating the development and dissemination of scientific papers on VPDs as well as multiyear reports on VPDs in the sub-region;
- Supporting evaluation of interventions and tools to inform deployment or enhanced deployment of WHO VPDs technical products and tools in the sub-region;
Generation of analytics-driven strategic information for disease control agenda setting and interventions tailoring through:
- Monitoring socio-political and health situations in member states, facilitating political and social analysis for health action in the sub-region;
- Supporting development of capacities for analytics to drive VPDs and other diseases control agenda setting and to guide investments; advocating and supporting use of triangulated data on disease occurrence (incidence and mortality), interventions coverage, health services access, determinants information, to developed tailored national policies and operational responses in member states of the sub-region;
- Mainstreaming of GER in VPDs service delivery in the sub-region;
- Supporting surveillance systems strengthening and tracking of biological and other threats using available VPDs tools and interventions and using the same information for threat containment in member states of the sub-region.
Technical support and institutional capacity building for disease control support through:
- Disseminating VPDs technical products and tools in the region, advocating for their rapid deployment in member states of the subregion and in accordance with WHO guidance and local contexts;
- Facilitating appropriate technical support in the implementation of WHO VPDs technical products and services in the sub-region, including guidance on comprehensive, whole of society approaches, as well as people-centered and integrated approaches to VPDs and disease control investing;
- Coordinating investment of VPDs and other disease programme resources in strengthening health services delivery platforms to deliver optimally for disease control in the sub-region;
- Mapping and prioritizing institutions and capabilities in member states of the sub-region for the purpose of WHO capacity institutional capacity strengthening towards domesticating provision of technical, operational research, analytics and training support to member states of the sub-region under WHO oversight, for VPDs and other priority diseases; contributing to managing partnerships and collaborations with the prioritized institutions and to strengthening their capacities;
- Strengthening WHO collaboration with the national public health institutes (NPHI) in member states of the sub-region and specialized networks on VPDs, with the aim of facilitating coherence and collaboration;
- Perform any other duties as assigned by the supervisor.
Education, Qualifications & Experience
- Advanced university degree in medicine or health-related science with a post-graduate degree in public health
- Post-graduate training in epidemiology or social science.
- A minimum of ten (10) years progressive experience in developing, designing and implementing public health programmes, including VPDs, especially in vaccine development, planning, implementation and/or M&E of immunisation programmes, with a minimum of 5 years inclusive at the international level in Low and/or Middle-Income countries.
- Experience in overseeing implementation, reviewing and updating existing strategies and guidelines and recommending new initiatives.
- Experience in facilitating coordinated approaches to effective programme management and implementation.
- Experience in facilitating coordinated approaches to effective programme management and implementation.
- A track record of research, with publications at senior authorship level in academic journals.
- Experience in epidemiology and disease control in Africa combined with a sound understanding of the requirements of major immunization partnerships
Functional Knowledge and Skills
- Extensive experience in thought leadership, problem solving approaches, and use of the logical framework in health programme development;
- Extensive knowledge of policies, strategies and programme interventions related to VPD with broad practical knowledge of related programmes, policies and strategies and their application in developing and developed countries;
- Proven leadership skills in the planning and coordination of multidisciplinary public health programmes, which should include the implementation of VPD control programmes;
- Demonstrated expertise in strategic and multisectoral planning; research; performance monitoring, as applied to programmes and reporting; extensive knowledge and skills in use of data and information for decision-making and strategic planning; track record of recognizing and addressing changing conditions;
- Working knowledge of WHO rules and procedures, mandates, strategies and action plans (global, regional and country-specific);
- Budgeting and financial management; partnership and resource mobilization; communication and people management;
- Ability to exercise leadership and to work effectively with colleagues at national and international levels.
- Knowing and managing yourself
- Producing results
- Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
- Ensuring the effective use of resources
- Creating an empowering and motivating environment
- Strong knowledge of either English or French, with working knowledge of the other language (Essential).
- Working knowledge of Portuguese (desirable)
- Proven ability to use standard office software packages, Conversant with common IT software, including eHealth tools.
Terms of Appointment
This is a full-time position with a fixed term contract of two years.
How to Apply
If you wish to be considered for this position, please complete the Application Form below on or before 2 December 2022. In addition, we encourage you to please attach a copy of the most recent English version of your CV in word format.
All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.
If you have an initial query rather than an application, kindly email us at [email protected]
SRI Executive is exclusively retained by World Health Organization MOVPDCA (WHO MOVPDCA) to undertake this assignment.