UNICEF Vacancy for Health Specialist (Quality of Care),Abuja, Nigeria

Health Specialist (Quality of Care), NO-3, Abuja, Nigeria #111413

Global health policies and attention have continued to recognize the inseparable linkages in life and health needs of mothers, newborn, and children. Quality and continuum of care are increasingly recognized internationally as critical aspects of maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) agenda. Limited progress in maternal newborn and child health outcomes all over the world has reinforced attention beyond scale of MNCH interventions to include quality of service delivery: scale and quality underlie effectiveness of health interventions. Universal coverage of effective interventions which integrate care throughout the lifecycle, and support health system strengthening is the panacea to addressing missed opportunities for maximizing benefits and outcomes for women and children.

Nigeria has the second highest burden of maternal mortality in the world and contributes about 15% of the annual total global maternal deaths and the country’s neonatal death rate is high (37/1,000 live births, highest in Africa and only second to China globally). The burden of infant mortality, under-5 mortality, and adolescent morbidity and mortality is also high in Nigeria. The leading causes of both maternal, neonatal and childhood deaths as well as adolescent mortality and morbidity in Nigeria are preventable or easily treatable conditions. Overall, the RMNCAH status in Nigeria is poor, and poor QoC has been identified as a major factor associated with the RMNCAH situation in the country, and lack of considerable progress in Nigeria’s RMNCAH indicators over the MDG period. Nigeria is highly committed to improving RMNCAH program within agenda for improved health and well-being for women, neonates, children, and adolescents, towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially the health-focused goal (SDG 3). Meeting SDG3 in Nigeria requires at least a 150 percent acceleration in the current rate of under-5 mortality reduction (2011 to 2017). Reducing Under-5 mortality rate in Nigeria from current figures of 120 to 25 deaths per thousand live births (SDG target) entails the saving of additional 609,065 lives annually.

UNICEF is committed to supporting Nigeria’s efforts towards attaining Sustainable Development Goals. Current UNICEF support prioritize comprehensive support to integrated PHC services through investments in upstream policy reviews, development and adoptions, infrastructure upgrade and repairs, human resource for health development and management, procurement of essential medicines and supplies with associated strengthening of logistics management systems, community education and mobilization for improved demand for PHC services. This program supports the delivery of MNCH interventions along the continuum of care from pregnancy, through delivery, newborn, childhood to adolescent periods using three delivery platforms – health facilities, outreaches and community levels. Priority interventions include antenatal care, delivery services, post-natal care, and integrated management of childhood illnesses (IMCI) including routine immunization.

Community health interventions supported by UNICEF complete the link between facility-based interventions and health activities within households. Community volunteers promote key household practices and improve access to treatment services within communities: Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) of malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea, and mobile outreach services are supported by this program as equity-based approaches that extend services to underserved hard-to-reach communities. MNCH interventions are complemented by investments in other sectors – nutrition, Water Sanitation and Hygiene, Child Protection, and Social Protection. RMNCAH QoC is intrinsic within the operations highlighted above.

UNICEF works with key government of Nigeria partners at the federal and state levels in seeking alignment, prioritization, and coordination of interventions. UNICEF further collaborates with other development partners, implementing agencies, NGOs, regulatory and professional associations to advance MNCH and quality improvement interventions.

MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIESSupport to program development and planningSupport/contribute to the preparation/design and conduct/update of situation analysis for the sector/s to establish a strategic plan for development, design and management of health-related programs. Keep abreast of development trends to enhance program management, efficiency and delivery.Participate in strategic program discussion on the planning of health program. Formulate, design and prepare a sector of the health program proposal, ensuring alignment with the overall UNICEF’s Strategic Plans and Country Program and coherence/integration with UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDF), regional strategies and national priorities, plans and competencies.Establish specific program goals, objectives and strategies and implementation plans based on results-based planning terminology and methodology (RBM). Prepare required documentations for program review and approval.Work closely and collaboratively with internal and external colleagues and partners to discuss strategies and methodologies and to determine national priorities/competencies to ensure the achievement of concrete and sustainable results.Provide technical and operational support throughout all stages of programming processes and to ensure integration, coherence and harmonization of programs/projects with other UNICEF sectors and achievement of results as planned and allocated.Program management, monitoring and delivery of resultsPlan and/or collaborate with internal and external partners to establish monitoring benchmarks, performance indicators and other UNICEF/UN system indicators and measurement to assess/strengthen performance accountability, coherence and delivery of concrete and sustainable results for the assigned sector in health programs.Participate in monitoring and evaluation exercises, program reviews and annual sectoral reviews with government and other counterparts to assess progress and to determine required action/interventions to achieve results.Prepare/assess monitoring and evaluation reports to identify gaps, strengths/weaknesses in program and management, identify lessons learned and use knowledge gained for development planning and timely intervention to achieve goals.Actively monitor programs/projects through field visits, surveys and/or exchange of information with partners/stakeholders to assess progress, identify bottlenecks and potential problems and take timely decisions to resolve issues and/or refer to relevant officials for timely resolution.Monitor and verify the optimum/appropriate use of sectoral program resources (financial, administrative and other assets) confirming compliance with organizational rules, regulations/procedures and donor commitments, standards of accountability and integrity and ensuring timely reporting and liquidation of resources.Prepare regular/mandated program/project reports for management, donors and partners to keep them informed of program progress.Technical and operational support to program implementationProvide technical guidance and operational support to government counterparts, NGO partners, UN system partners and other country office partners/donors on interpretation, application and understanding of UNICEF policies, strategies, processes and best practices and approaches on health and related issues to support program development planning, management, implementation and delivery of results.Participate in discussions with national partners/clients/stakeholders to promote health and development issues especially in the areas of gender, emergency preparedness and maternal, neonatal and child survival and development.Draft policy papers, briefs and other strategic program materials for management use, information and/or consideration.Participate in emergency preparedness initiatives program development and contingency planning and/or to respond to emergencies in country or where designatedNetworking and partnership buildingBuild and sustain effective close working partnerships with health sector government counterparts, national stakeholders and global partners/allies/donors/academia through active networking, advocacy and effective communication to build capacity and exchange knowledge/expertise to facilitate the achievement of program goals on children rights and social justice/equity.Prepare communication and information materials for CO program advocacy to promote awareness, establish partnership/alliances and support fund raising for health programs (maternal, neonatal and child survival and development).Participate and/or represent UNICEF in appropriate inter-agency (UNCT) discussions and planning on health and related issues to collaborate with inter-agency partners/colleagues on UNDAF planning and preparation of health programs/projects ensuring organizational position, interests and priorities are fully considered and integrated in the UNDAF process in development planning and agenda setting.Innovation, knowledge management and capacity buildingApply/introduce innovative approaches and good practice to build the capacity of partners and stakeholders and to support the implementation and delivery of concrete and sustainable program results.Keep abreast and conduct research to provide evidence for implementation of best and cutting edge practices in health.Assess, institutionalize and share best practices and knowledge learned.Contribute to the development and implementation of policies and procedures to ensure optimum efficiency and efficacy of sustainable programs and projects.Organize and implement capacity building initiatives to enhance the competencies of clients/stakeholders to promote sustainable results on health-related programs/projects.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…Education:An Advanced University Degree in public health/nutrition, paediatric health, family health, health research, global/international health, health policy and/or management, environmental health sciences, biostatistics, socio-medical, health education, epidemiology or other health related science is required.Experience:A minimum of 5 years of professional experience in public health/nutrition planning and management and/or in relevant areas of maternal and neonatal health care, health emergency/humanitarian preparedness, at the international level some of which preferably in a developing country is required. Relevant experience in health/nutrition program/project development and management in any UN system agency or organization is an asset.Language Requirements:Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or a local language is an asset

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

The competencies required for this post are….

View our competency framework at


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, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.


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

How to Apply

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/?job=526264

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