HIV/AIDS Specialist


UNICEF is hiring a HIV/AIDS Specialist.

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, a future

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030) and the UNICEF Strategic Plan (2022-2025), the UNICEF Regional Office in West and Central Africa (WCARO) is implementing the 2022-2025 Regional Office Management Plan (ROMP) in response to regional priorities. By 2025, UNICEF WCARO aimed to increase countries’ capacity to provide essential prevention, diagnostic, treatment and care services for maternal newborn, child, adolescent health (MNCAH) and HIV/AIDS.

As a co-sponsor of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNICEF HIV/AIDS is aligned with the Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026 and focuses on eliminating new pediatric HIV infections, fast-tracking access to HIV testing and treatment for children and adolescents, and accelerating the reduction of HIV incidence among adolescents, especially adolescent girls.

Under the guidance of the Senior Health Specialist, MNCH & HIV, the HIV/AIDS Specialist PMTCT/Pediatric AIDS provides technical leadership in support of a targeted and more effective regional office and country offices (CO) response towards eliminating new pediatric HIV infections, fast-tracking access to children’s HIV diagnosis high impact approaches (family HIV testing) and technology (point of care technology), and retention on antiretroviral treatment for children, adolescents pregnant and breastfeeding women. The incumbent provides technical leadership for evidence-informed policy and UNICEF’s programme on HIV/AIDS, representation at key meetings with partners and leveraging the implementation capacity of UN co-sponsors and other partners.

How can you make a difference?

Purpose for the job:

Under the supervision of the Senior Health Specialist, MNCH & HIV, and in close collaboration with other sections in the Regional Office and Headquarters, the position is responsible for providing technical assistance to WCAR Country Offices in implementing programs related to Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission and Pediatric HIV testing, treatment and retention in care. The position contributes to the achievements of MNCAH and HIV/AIDS results of the 2022-2025 ROMP. The position provides technical leadership supporting a targeted and more effective regional office and country offices’ response towards eliminating new pediatric HIV infections, fast-tracking access to HIV treatment for children and adolescents.

The position is part of the Health and HIV section within the MNCAH&HIV unit and is instrumental in fostering the HIV integration agenda within the maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (MNCAH) programs and platforms. The position plays a key role in advocating for scaling up innovative solutions to accelerate results for PMTCT and Pediatric HIV Testing and Treatment within the context of strengthening primary health care systems. The position leverages strategic regional partnerships, including with civil society organizations and the private sector, to advocate and scale up the HIV response for children.

Summary of key functions/accountabilities

Support to programmes/projects development, planning and management

  • Supports the situation analysis for PMTCT, pediatric HIV early infant HIV diagnostic, HIV testing innovative approaches and technologies for children, adolescents, and pregnant and breastfeeding women in line with quality standards to guide effective programming at regional and country levels.
  • Supports countries to develop quality HIV/AIDS programme strategy, plans and effective management using results-based management (RBM) methodology.
  • Contributes evidence-based operational inputs and field perspectives to strategic programme discussions on HIV/AIDS to ensure their alignment with UNICEF’s Strategic Plans, ROMP, Country Programme and coherence/integration with UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) at country and regional levels.
  • Provides technical support for HIV/AIDS programme management at the country level to ensure that results are achieved as planned according to globally agreed norms and guidelines.
  • Collaborates with other sectors and partners to foster HIV integration and synergies while ensuring coherence and harmonization among partners to advance programmes for HIV pediatric early infant HIV diagnostic, HIV testing innovative approaches and technologies for children, adolescent and pregnant and breastfeeding women, and linkages to treatment.

Technical and operational support to programme implementation

  • Provides technical guidance and operational support to government counterparts, NGO partners, UN system partners and other country office partners/donors on UNICEF policies, strategies, processes, best practices and approaches on HIV-related issues to support programme development planning, management, implementation and monitoring of results.
  • Assesses the technical support needs periodically from countries and mobilizes the required technical support for country offices, governments and civil society organizations to advance an equity-focused agenda towards eMTCT and fast-tracking pediatric HIV Testing and treatment.
  • Participates in programme strategic planning and contributes to policy discussions and agenda setting to promote HIV integration, especially in gender inequality, social inclusion, human rights, and humanitarian situations, to ensure that at-risk and vulnerable populations are fully covered in times of greatest need.
  • Develops policy papers, briefs and other strategic programme materials for management use, information and/or consideration.

Programme quality assurance and monitoring of results

  • Provides technical support for disseminating and implementing global guidance related to HIV pediatric early infant diagnostic, HIV testing innovative approaches and technologies for children, adolescents, and pregnant and breastfeeding women, and linkages to treatment.
  • Supports the strengthening of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) mechanisms/systems, including facilitating country-level capacity-building on M&E, target setting, regional progress tracking, and global and regional AIDS Monitoring Report development.
  • Conducts data tracking and synthesis at the regional level and supports joint country actions for programme review, planning, implementation, and monitoring in close collaboration with countries and partners.
  • Supports preparation of data analysis reports and publications related to PMTCT and Pediatric HIV testing and treatment to guide UNICEF future directions regarding policy, strategic and operational framework.

Networking and partnership building

  • Builds and sustains effective close working partnerships with relevant global, regional and country-level structures working in PMTCT and Pediatric HIV Testing and Treatment.
  • Contributes to resource leveraging UN agencies, bilateral cooperation agencies, regional and sub-regional partners such as AU, ECOWAS, ECCAS, national Governments, Civil Society and Non-Governmental
  • Organizations, and promotes the implementation of policies, programmes, strategies to advance eMTCT and access to Pediatric HIV testing and treatment.

Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building

  • Builds capacity of UNICEF and government counterparts, and civil society organizations to apply/introduce innovative approaches and good practices to advance eMTCT and fast-tracking pediatric HIV testing and treatment.
  • Keeps abreast, research, benchmark and implement best and cutting-edge practices in PMTCT and HIV pediatric treatment programme management and information systems. Institutionalize and share best practices and knowledge learned.
  • Prepares and reviews documentation of PMTCT and Pediatric HIV Testing and Treatment programmes for the regional office, ensuring alignment with UNICEF’s Strategic Plans, regional strategies and national priorities, plans and competencies.
  • Organizes and implement capacity-building initiatives to enhance the competencies of country office/national stakeholders to promote sustainable results of PMTCT and HIV pediatric treatment programme in PMTCT and HIV pediatric treatment.

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

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in public health, laboratory science, Medicine, and related technical fields.
  • A minimum of eight years of relevant professional experience in public health programme planning and management at national and/or international levels, preferably in a developing country, is required.
  • Relevant experience in PMTCT, early infant HIV diagnosis (EID) technology, and pediatric HIV treatment programme/project development and management is an asset.
  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered an asset.
  • Fluency Fluency in French and English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or a local language (Spanish and/or Portuguese) is an asset.

Other skills and attributes:

  • Current knowledge of Children and HIV/AIDS issues, policies and international standards.
  • Current knowledge of development and technology in the related field.
  • Proven ability to conceptualize, develop, plan, and manage programs and transfer knowledge and skills.
  • Good analytical, negotiating, communication and advocacy skills.
  • Ability to work in an international or multicultural environment.

For every Child, you demonstrate:

UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA).

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are:

  • Builds and maintains partnerships (2)
  • Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (2)
  • Drive to achieve results for impact (2)
  • Innovates and embraces change (2)
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity (2)
  • Thinks and acts strategically (2)
  • Works collaboratively with others (2)

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

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 also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. 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.


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

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

* This position is based in Dakar, the incumbent will therefore be expected to live and work from Dakar (the duty station).

Advertised: 10 Jan 2022 Greenwich Standard Time
Deadline: 31 Jan 2022 Greenwich Standard Time.

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