Health Specialist


Health Specialist (Immunization), P4, Fixed-term, WCARO, Dakar Senegal #72465;

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, health

The incumbent is accountable for providing programme and policy guidance and leadership on UNICEF’s regional advocacy, resource mobilization and technical assistance to equitable immunization services as part of primary health care systems. This will include Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination efforts as well as the introduction of new and underutilized vaccines. In line with UNICEF’s global Strategic Plan 2022-2025 and UNICEF’s West and Central Africa Regional Office Management Plan 2022-2025, the incumbent will be responsible to facilitate regional immunization related partnerships with the WHO, African Union, GAVI, CDC, private sector and philanthropic institutions, strengthen regional coordination, and strategic approaches to reach hard to reach populations, linking immunization and birth registration services, and enhancing the use of digital technology to improve immunization services. The incumbent will work under the direct supervision of the Senior Immunization Specialist, in close collaboration with the Regional Health Advisor and technical experts working on maternal, child and adolescent health and health emergencies. She/He is accountable for ensuring UNICEF’s work on immunization contributes to achieving key results for children and promotes gender equality, with an emphasis on gender disaggregation, gender disparity identification and gender mainstreaming.

How can you make a difference?

Timely sectoral analysis, input, support and coordination contribute to the Situation Analysis with consistent integration of sex disaggregated data and its periodic update for effective project planning, development and management. Contributes towards the preparation of the Situation Analysis by overseeing collection, analysis and evaluation of information, and providing the technical guidance and input. Ensures the timely preparation of the Situation Analysis relative to Immunization (EPI) interventions and MNT Elimination activities in countries and its periodic update. Coordinates to make quality contribution to other related interventions as part of the integrated immunization activities.
Ensures the quality inputs related to immunization and health to the Countries Programme Documents, and all related documents (e.g., Plan of Operations, Project Plans of Action, Country Programme Summary Sheet, Programme Summary Sheet)

  • Quality contributions are made to the development and implementation of the Immunization activities through strategic shifts in line with the regional agenda (Key Results for Children) including strengthening participation and collaboration with internal and external partners.
    Collaborates within the Health and HIV section with other technical experts, with other UNICEF sections such as Nutrition, WASH, Child Protection, Social and Behaviour Change to ensure a multi sector response that immunization services are well linked with other interventions (e.g, malaria; birth registration).
  • Participates with UNICEF, COs, Governments, non-government organizations (NGOs) and other partners in the development of immunization strategies and approaches. Ensures achievement of strategic results in line with the WCAR Key Result for children agenda and corrective actions to meet programme/project objectives.
  • Contributes to the UNICEF-WHO regional technical working group on immunization to monitor progress, resource mobilization and high- level advocacy efforts.
  • Contributes to generating new evidence and enhancing strategies to reach hard to reach populations with immunization services, linking immunization and birth registration services, and enhancing the use of digital technology to improve immunization services.
  • Contributes to the identification, development and dissemination of new strategies, methodologies, approaches and tools for improving programme delivery with emphasis on project management, evaluation, sustainability of intervention and community participation based on Human Rights framework and cross sector approach, in collaboration with other partners (e.g., WHO).
  • Work plan and objectives are strategically established, technical support is effectively provided, and planned results are timely delivered through exercise of strong leadership.
  • As Immunization Specialist, provides technical leadership for, and participates in the development of the results-based sectoral work plan and technical decisions as well as for implementation, monitoring and follow-up of sectoral project activities, consistent with the defined project strategies and approaches. Ensures objectives and targets are timely met and achieved meeting the requirements and quality standards, through full coordination between activities, by leading and supporting a team of professional and support staff.
  • Meets with national and international agencies overseeing the management of programmes/projects. Participates in meetings with ministries responsible for programme/project review, and follows up on implementation of recommendations and agreements, and integration of gender mainstreaming across sectors.
  • Project implementation progress is monitored and evaluated for adjustment, acceleration and improvement of program delivery and sustainability.
  • Undertakes country visits to monitor programmes, as well as participates in periodic programme reviews with COs and government counterparts and other partners. Identifies necessary action for programme adjustments. Provides technical advice and assistance to government officials and implementing partners in the planning and management of the Immunization programme and ensure sustainability of interventions.
  • Technical support on immunization as part of primary health care is provided to WCAR Country Offices at all stages of the programme cooperation, including capacity building of government personnel and beneficiaries.
  • Provides expert guidance and technical support to COs, governments and NGOs at the national and provincial levels in the planning, development and implementation stages of the programmes/projects. Identifies training needs; coordinates, develops, organizes and oversees training and orientation activities for government personnel and beneficiaries, for the purpose of capacity building, sustainability of programme/projects and promotion/expansion of coverage of services.
  • The capacities of Country Offices staff are strengthened through effective capacity building programme in the development, implementation and management of the integrated immunization services as part of primary health care system
    Guides, coordinates and organizes staff training/development efforts together with Regional and HQ Advisers to increase the capacity of UNICEF Country Offices staff enabling them to progressively engage in and lead in the programme development, implementation and management of immunization programme, including MNT Elimination activities. Oversees the conduct of relevant orientation, workshop, training and staff learning/development activities.
  • Effective partnership and collaboration achieved and maintained for advocacy, technical cooperation, programme coordination, information sharing and knowledge networking.
    Coordinates activities and exchanges information and knowledge with other programmes to contribute to achievement of overall country programmes objectives. Participates in establishing effective monitoring, knowledge database/network and reporting systems such as JRF, to ensure the availability of current and accurate programme information/data and contributes to the development of communication materials and strategies to support advocacy and community participation for the Immunization Programme.
  • Maintains close working relationships to establish partnership and collaboration with external counterparts, including those of the UN and national partners, in order to improve the ability to collect and disseminate relevant data, exchange information on programme/project development and implementation. Ensures a significant exchange of knowledge, information, experience and lessons learned.
  • The most relevant and strategic information is provided to support the Immunization Programme activities by the effective implementation of integrated primary health care monitoring system.
    In collaboration with monitoring and evaluation and program communication colleagues, conducts accurate and timely monitoring and data collection, and supports an integrated monitoring system.
  • Ensures the accurate and timely input of project information in the monitoring system, and issues status reports for monitoring and evaluation purposes (JRF).
  • Drawing on monitoring and analysis of key program performance and management indicators, provides expert input to management reports, including relevant sections of the annual reports. Provides technical advice to programme staff, government counterparts and other partners on planning and management of integrated monitoring and evaluation of the programme.
  • All required programme reports are timely prepared in compliance with the established guidelines and procedures.
    Ensures the timely preparation of annual sector status reports in compliance with the established guidelines and procedures. Participates in the preparation of all programme reports for management, Board, donors, budget reviews, programme analysis, and annual reports.
  • Other assigned duties and responsibilities are effectively performed.
    Performs and delivers additional duties and services assigned by the supervisor.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • Advanced degree in one of the disciplines relevant to the following areas: Medicine, Public Health, Paediatric Health, Global/International Health, Health Policy and Management, Family Health, Socio-medical Sciences, Health Education, Epidemiology, or other fields relevant to immunization.
  • A minimum of 8 years of professional work experience at the national and international levels in development, planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and/or managing of health, especially Immunization programmes.
  • Professional work experience in a managerial position
  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered an asset.
  • Fluency in English and French is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish) or a local language is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships (2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (3) Drive to achieve results for impact (4) Innovates and embraces change (5) Manages ambiguity and complexity (6) Thinks and acts strategically (7) Works collaboratively with others (8) Nurtures, leads and manages people

During the recruitment process, we test candidates following the competency framework. Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels: competency framework here.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.
We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF is committed to promote the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.


UNICEF’s active commitment towards diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. For this position, eligible and suitable female candidates are encouraged to apply.

Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station, which will be facilitated by UNICEF, is required for IP positions. Appointments are also subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Government employees that are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.

Application close: Mar 23 2023 Greenwich Standard Time.

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