World Health Organization (WHO)

Who we are

Founded in 1948, WHO is the United Nations agency that connects nations, partners and people to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable – so everyone, everywhere can attain the highest level of health.


What we do

WHO leads global efforts to expand universal health coverage. We direct and coordinate the world’s response to health emergencies. And we promote healthier lives – from pregnancy care through old age. Our Triple Billion targets outline an ambitious plan for the world to achieve good health for all using science-based policies and programmes. 

Role purpose

The postholder will serve as the Unit Head, Sexual Health and Well-being Across the Life Course (SLC), which is a part of the UNDP-UNFPA-UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP). The Unit Head is responsible for coordinating, managing, and evaluating research, evidence, and program activities, and will create milestones on new policies and strategies to address global needs in sexual health, sexuality, and sexual well-being all across the life course, working in consultation with WHO Regional Offices, HRP cosponsors, other UN agencies, and international counterparts.


Objectives of the Programme and of the immediate Strategic Objective

The UNDP-UNFPA-UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP) is the main instrument within the United Nations system for identifying research priorities on sexual and reproductive health and rights; for promoting, conducting, evaluating and coordinating related interdisciplinary research; for collaborating with countries to build national capacity to conduct research; and for promoting the use of research results in policy making and sexual and reproductive health programmes. HRP was established by the World Health Assembly in 1988 under WHA Resolution 41.9, and is cosponsored by UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank.


HRP is executed by WHO, from within the Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research (SRH). The Department draws on HRP research and global expertise to generate evidence, strengthen health systems, and impact lives through work to set norms and standards and develop global guidelines, and to support programme development in sexual and reproductive health and rights. More information about SRH and HRP can be found at https://www.who.int/teams/sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-research-(srh)/human-reproduction-programme


To achieve optimal sexual health, all individuals should have access to accurate information and health services regarding sexuality and reproduction. This enables people to have fulfilling relationships, prevent unwanted pregnancies and STIs, and manage conditions like infertility, menstrual disorders, sexual dysfunction, or reproductive cancers. Recognizing the need for a respectful approach to sexuality and sexual health, free from coercion, discrimination and violence, the Sexual Health and Well-being Across the Life Course Unit (SLC) aims for all people to have safe, healthy, and satisfying sexual lives. SLC works to provide global leadership and agenda-setting in the promotion of sexual health across the life course and facilitate the integration of sexual health considerations across health systems and people-centered care to strengthen policies, legislation, programmes and services.


Organizational context 

Under the guidance of the Director, the position provides the highest level of scientific and technical evidence and expertise in sexual health and well-being to ensure efficient coordination and management of a technical team in conducting research, developing technical policy and guidance in the Department's activities to achieve programme objectives in line with the Mission of the Organization. The Unit Head will build a wide range of established partnerships with UN agencies, donor institutions, counterparts in WHO Collaborating Centre sand other public health institutions and other stakeholders in its development of solutions to public health issues.


It is noted that the above responsibilities require a high level of sensitivity to controversial issues relating to sexual and reproductive health and consistent sustained attention to gender and human rights issues; a lack of diplomacy in external contacts could adversely affect the work of the entire Organization. The incumbent will be guided by relevant resolutions of the World Health Assembly, WHO Executive Board, and WHO Regional Committee resolutions, recommendations of HRP's Policy and Coordination Committee, the HRP Standing Committee of Cosponsors, HRP Scientific and Technical Advisory Group, HRP Gender Advisory Panel, and other relevant advisory bodies. The incumbent manages the scientific, technical and support staff of the team, and engages with consultants to WHO. The incumbent must be able to exercise mature judgment and sensitivity in dealing with highly complex situations and issues. WHO staff regulations, rules, policies, and entitlements apply.


Duties and Responsibilities

Building on WHO's leadership in comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights the incumbent will:

  • Provide technical leadership, coordination, and managerial support within the Department, in the Unit on Sexual Health and Well-being Across the Life Course (SLC), providing leadership and ensuring that activities in this area are conducted efficiently and effectively.
  • Provide vision, set priorities, develop, lead, and implement research in sexual health, sexuality, and sexual wellbeing across the life course.
  • Develop and propose technical health policies and strategies for implementation through collaboration with Regional and Country Offices and HRP cosponsors.
  • Provide expert advice on sexual health, sexuality, and sexual wellbeing across the life course for strengthening and improving technical capacity of target clientele.
  • Oversee a unit of scientific and technical staff and manage financial resources, and effective work planning to optimize the programme's deliverables in line with the mandate of the Organization.
  • Manage the monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of the area of work including key performance indicators, mechanisms to optimize performance of programme deliverables.
  • Serve as the expert technical reference among the peer community, HRP Cosponsors, UN Agencies, and other stakeholders at the technical levels in sexual health, sexuality, and sexual wellbeing across the life course.
  • Liaise with and utilize partnerships in other UN Agencies, HRP cosponsors, donors, and research institutions in contraception and fertility care to position the technical area of work and implementation into global and/or national policies.
  • Represent WHO and HRP at various meetings to advocate for evidence-based contraception and fertility care.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned.



  • Teamwork
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences.
  • Communication
  • Creating an empowering and motivating environment


Functional Knowledge and Skills

  • Expert knowledge of sexual health, sexuality, and sexual well-being across the life course and its public health aspects
  • Concrete skills in the planning and coordination of multidisciplinary public health programmes, which may include the implementation of a public health/disease control programme
  • Excellent skills and ability in managing diverse teams and financial resources.
  • Fundraising knowledge and skills, as evidenced by previous success in mobilizing resources.
  • Ability to engage and communicate effectively and diplomatically with partners including Ministries of Health, donor institutions, Civil Society, HRP cosponsors, and other stakeholders.
  • Proven research, analytical and scientific writing skills, as evidenced by an extensive track record of peer-review scientific publication in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights (within the past 5 years).


Education Qualifications

  • Essential: Advanced university degree in public health, epidemiology, or another field related to sexual health, sexuality, and sexual wellbeing across the life course
  • Desirable: PhD in a field related to sexual health, sexuality, and sexual wellbeing across the life course



  • Essential: At least 10 years of experience in research and research management relating to sexual and reproductive health, including experience at the international level
  • Essential: At least 5 years of direct experience of leading research projects
  • Desirable: Working experience in a UN agency or an international non-governmental organization in low- and middle-income countries


Language Skills

  • Essential: Expert knowledge of English
  • Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of other UN languages


Other Skills

  • Ability to use e-mail, scheduling, word processing and presentation software independently and efficiently
  • Ability to use team collaboration and communication platforms such as MS Teams


How to Apply

To apply for this position, please ensure you complete the Application Form provided below by 04 December 2023. It is essential that you submit your CV in English, specifically in Microsoft Word format (.doc/.docx).


Applications in other languages or formats will not be considered.


Rest assured, all information will be handled with the utmost confidentiality.


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

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