Objectives of the Programme and of the Immediate Strategic Objectives
The Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN) 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 comprehensive whole of society, people-centered, 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 mobilizing 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 centered, 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 deployment of appropriate technologies and analytics to guide stratification of disease risks across population groups in order to develop and deploy comprehensive packages of interventions appropriate for each population group and health service delivery platform, as well as monitor population access, coverage and impact to leave no one behind.
The specific objectives of the UCN cluster to which the ESPEN 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 adoption of new technologies and innovations; (iii) support generation and use of strategic information for action and decision making including optimizing investment; and (iv) provide or facilitate provision of technical support in deployment of WHO technical products and services and institutional capacity building, including support to national disease programmes and regulatory authorities.
Filling the position of Team Leader, ESPEN is a major priority in moving the UCN strategic agenda forward. The incumbent will lead the WHO AFRO response to priority preventive chemotherapy neglected tropical diseases (PC-NTDs) in the region with a focus on contributing to the attainment of the 2030 SDGs targets for PC-NTDs in the region. Specifically, the incumbent will provide transformational leadership in the development and implementation of the UCN/PC-NTD programme. This will include developing appropriate PC-NTD collaborative initiatives towards the UCN strategic agenda. Further, the incumbent will facilitate coordination for the development and implementation of regional policies, strategies, programmes and activities. These activities will contribute to building and strengthening the capacity of countries to improve access to integrated health services for PC-NTDs. This will be achieved in a context of strengthened and resilient health systems, contributing to attaining UHC and other health related SDG targets.
The incumbent will lead the ESPEN Team in promoting a cohesive approach and driving integration of appropriate PC-NTDs interventions along with other communicable and non-communicable diseases interventions, into 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 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 PC-NTDs services in countries. In keeping with the goal of promoting working across organizational boundaries, the incumbent will engage in cross-cluster collaboration to drive integration of appropriate interventions across disease specific programmes into district health systems using people-centred approaches. S/he will also mobilize partnerships with national and regional institutions, including academia, professional associations, non-governmental organizations, 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.
S/he will have a strong scientific background, with a track record of research published in peer reviewed journals. This will include the ability to network with academic and other institutions across the region. The focus of the position will be on delivering measurable outcomes, through a comprehensive understanding of programmatic and systemic approaches. The incumbent will have the ability to understand and implement monitoring and evaluation metrics and analysis to ensure results-driven performance and outcomes within the programme. S/he will be expected to generate new ideas and initiatives for PC NTD control in the WHO African region and translate these into tangible actions.
Organizational Context – Under the overall direction of the Regional Director, with technical guidance from the Director for Programme Management, and supervision by the Director of the Universal Health Coverage-Communicable and Non-communicable Diseases Cluster, and within the delegated authority, the incumbent is an organizational expert who will lead and facilitate the development, implementation, and monitoring of WHO AFRO’s regional strategies, plans, programmes, and interventions to reduce the burden of PC-NTDs towards attainment of UHC and the SDGs in the WHO African Region. The incumbent will be guided by the resolutions of the Regional Committee, the World Health Assembly, the WHO Transformation Programme, and the GPW13 and its Triple Billion objectives, the 2018 Astana Declaration on Primary Health Care, and the Political Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly, as well as national priorities and needs of the Member States of the Region. S/he will oversee capacity building and training based on technical norms, standards, best practices and Standard Operating Procedures. S/he will have delegated authority to establish and accomplish work goals, identify problems and provide broad guidance for resolving challenges and for possible redesign of existing policies and integration of such policies into other programme areas.
Contacts – Under the overall direction of the Regional Director, with technical and strategic guidance from the Director for Programme Management, and supervision by the Director of the Universal Health Coverage-Communicable and Non-communicable Diseases, and in collaboration with the relevant Directors at WHO/HQ, other Programmes, Teams and Clusters of WHO AFRO, and strategic partners,, the incumbent will facilitate the formulation, review and implementation of programmes; will technically advise and guide the team supervised at WHO/AFRO Regional Office, ISTs, Multi-country assignment teams (MCATs), Country Offices, and Collaborating Centres, as well as WRs to execute the PC NTDs and WHO/AFRO/UCN agenda, responding to the needs of Member States. Successful formulation and attainment of the objectives and expected results will involve collaboration with a broad range of experts, policy makers and representatives of multi- and bilateral agencies, academia, professional associations, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions. The incumbent will build, coalesce and enhance partnerships and alliances to mobilize concerted action and resources to advance the goals of the Organization. In particular, s/he will facilitate collaboration with the UHC/LC, UHC/HP, ARD and EPR Clusters in the provision of support for NTDs programmes to Member States to build strong and resilient health systems for preventing, controlling, eliminating or eradicating communicable and non-communicable diseases in order to reduce their burden. The incumbent will also collaborate with the ARD Teams in strengthening surveillance systems for antimicrobial resistance and to implement strategies for programmatic management of drug resistance to targeted PC-NTDs; research development and knowledge management; and promote knowledge translation and innovations in health service delivery towards the optimization of integrated health services through the strategic person centered approach. S/he will represent the Regional Office in forums within and outside the Organization where PC-NTD issues are strategically discussed.
Duties and Responsibilities
The incumbent is expected to contribute towards:
Leadership on disease control coordination, partnerships and resource mobilization
- Initiate and lead innovative and enhanced resource mobilization targeting of both traditional and new donors in order to increase the capacity of WHO country offices and countries to deliver results;
- Ensure people-centred approaches across the life course to address the priority health problems of different population sub-groups through building and coordinating a competent and committed team of PC-NTD experts in the development and implementation of regional NTD policies, strategies, programmes and strategic initiatives for PC-NTD control, elimination or eradication control in the region;
- Lead regional office PC-NTD strategic and operational planning, monitoring and evaluation. This will be done in in collaboration with other WHO technical clusters, and partners in an integrated manner in the context of Universal Health Coverage, ensuring people-centred approaches across the life course to address the priority health problems of different population sub-groups;
- Provide leadership and manage the staff under his/her responsibility; ensure their performance, continuous development and engagement, promoting a culture of working across boundaries, while promoting the principles of equity, and value for money, integrity and a respectful workplace in accordance with the Organization's policies, rules, procedures, and values;
- Drive the team members’ collaboration with other clusters and programmes to ensure that PC-NTD interventions are integrated in strategies on universal health coverage, primary health care, sexual and reproductive health, and communicable diseases;
- Lead regional office PC-NTD strategic and operational planning, monitoring and evaluation of work plans and budgets within the framework of WHO Staff Rules and Regulations, financial rules and AFRO accepted procedures, while promoting integration of similar interventions in the ESPEN Team;
- Conduct high level advocacy and policy dialogue and establish/strengthen partnerships, including with academia, professional associations, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions, the African Union and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) for the harmonization and alignment of actors and resources in the formulation and implementation of national action plans, as an integral part of strengthened and resilient national health systems, in order to improve access to quality essential NTD services at all levels, including paying particular attention to the PHC level;
- Lead application of analytics in NTDs to drive improved targeting and impact of NTD interventions;
- Lead the conceptualization, formulation, implementation and monitoring of bold strategic initiatives on PC-NTDs in the WHO African region;
- Contribute to the development of annual “Regional Disease Outlook” including country profiles.
Development of WHO disease control technical products, services, and tools
- Contribute to discussion on priority PC-NTDs Target Product Profiles based on identified country and regional disease control needs;
- Support the strengthening of research and innovation that contribute evidence for developing and/or deploying WHO PC-NTDs products and services in the region;
- Coordinate the development and dissemination of scientific papers on PC-NTDs, as well as multiyear reports on PC-NTDs in the WHO African region;
- Support evaluation of interventions and tools to inform deployment or enhanced deployment of WHO PC-NTDs technical products and tools in the region.
Generation of analytics-driven strategic information for disease control agenda setting and interventions tailoring
- Lead monitoring of socio-political and health situations in member states, facilitating political and social analysis for health action in the region;
- Support development of capacities for analytics to drive PC-NTDs and other disease control agenda setting and to guide investments; advocate and support 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;
- Support mainstreaming of GER in PC-NTDs service delivery;
- Support surveillance systems strengthening and tracking of biological and other threats using available PC-NTDs tools and interventions, and use of the same information for threat containment in member states.
Technical support and institutional capacity building for disease control support
- Coordinate implementation of people-centered and integrated approaches to PC NTD control through development of tools and guidance; advocacy with partners, collaboration with programmes and teams; and capacity building, monitoring and evaluation;
- Oversee the development and implementation of regional and country capacity-building policies, strategies and approaches towards the implementation of best practices on all aspects of PC-NTD prevention and treatment scale-up, including improving access to medicines;
- Lead dissemination of PC-NTDs technical products and tools in the region, advocating for their rapid deployment in member states according to WHO guidance and local contexts;
- Facilitate appropriate technical support in the implementation of WHO PC-NTDs technical products and services, including guidance on comprehensive, whole of society approaches, as well as people-centered and integrated approaches to PC_NTDs and disease control investing;
- Oversee the collaborative and proactive support to countries in the development and implementation of monitoring and evaluation policies and strategies to facilitate reporting on trends in health systems performance and on progress towards regional and national PC-NTD targets, including promoting the dissemination of lessons learned and good practices;
- Contribute to the coordinated investment of PC-NTDs and other disease programme resources in strengthening health services delivery platforms to deliver optimally for disease control in the region;
- Contribute to mapping and prioritizing existing institutions and capabilities in member states with focus on prioritizing institutions for WHO capacity strengthening towards providing technical support under WHO oversight, for PC-NTDs and other priority diseases; contribute to managing partnerships and collaborations with the prioritized institutions and to strengthening their capacities to provide technical support under WHO oversight;
- Lead the strengthening of WHO collaboration with the national public health institutes (NPHI) in member states in the region and specialized networks on PC-NTDs, with the aim of facilitating coherence and collaboration;
- Perform other related responsibilities as assigned, including replacing and backstopping for others as required.
Education, Qualifications & Experience
- Medical degree and a postgraduate degree in epidemiology, public health or communicable disease control.
- Post-graduate training or qualification in public health and/or training in strategic planning.
- A minimum of 10 years of international and national experience in prevention and control of communicable diseases, large-scale parasitic disease control/elimination programmes, of which at least five years are at the international level;
- Experience in overseeing implementation, review and updating existing strategies and guidelines and recommending new initiatives;
- Experience in resources mobilization and working with a variety of partners at international level;
- 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.
- Work experiences that are diverse, incorporating private sector, NGOs, other UN, or governmental Health related agencies will be an advantage. Knowledge of national, regional, and global partnerships and networks. Extensive experience, with a result focuses approach, in prevention and control of diseases.
- Promoting the Organization’s position in Health Leadership
- Building and Promoting Partnerships across the Organization and Beyond
- Creating an empowering and motivating environment
- Promoting Innovation and Organizational Learning
Functional Knowledge and Skills
- Extensive experience in thought leadership, problem solving approaches, and use of the logical framework in health programme development;
- Globally respected level of technical expertise and knowledge in public health and NTDs with broad practical knowledge of related programmes, policies and strategies and their application in developing and developed countries;
- Extensive disease-specific and programmatic knowledge of large-scale PC programmes, and integrated monitoring and evaluation approaches for the control and elimination of NTDs;
- Basic knowledge of research in NTDs;
- Proven leadership skills in the planning and coordination of multidisciplinary public health programmes, which should include the implementation of NTDs 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.
- A leader who understands the diseases that ESPEN liaise with
- Able to define strategies to achieve objectives and lead the team
- Understanding of epidemiology and public health
- Expertise in neglected tropical diseases
- Experience working with malaria or other Tropical Medicine
- Knowledge of the health systems and diseases
- Excellent knowledge of English and/or French with a good working knowledge of the other. Working knowledge of Portuguese is desirable.
- Good level of computer literacy; the ability to analyse and manage electronic information; and familiarity with eHealth tools including epidemiological and statistical software; excellent writing skills.
Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
How to Apply
If you wish to be considered for this position, please complete the Application Form below on or before 30 November 2022. In addition, we encourage you to please attach a copy of the most recent English version of your CV.
All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.
If you have an initial query rather than an application, kindly email us at WHOTL-ESPEN@sri-executive.com.
SRI Executive is exclusively retained by WHO to undertake this assignment.