Consultant - Patient Safety Flagship

WHO - World Health Organization

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Application deadline in 10 days: Thursday 16 Dec 2021 at 22:59 UTC

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Purpose of consultancy

To provide guidance to the of Patient Safety Flagship (PSF) unit in the development of a Leadership Competency Framework for Patient Safety (including assessment tool and capacity building resources) and Safety Culture guidance (including surveys and capacity building resources) as well as in capacity building on leadership for patient safety and safety culture at country level. The consultant is expected to facilitate the development of both documents and accompanying resources through the consultative process, under the guidance of PSF, building on the previous WHO work. The consultant is also expected to organize a series of webinars and capacity building activities at country level, in coordination with PSF and the respective WHO regional and country offices.


Leadership is essential for making safe, effective and people-centered health care a reality. Strong leadership promotes health care system, in which the safe and high-quality care of patients becomes a priority - a system with a culture that supports effective communication and interprofessional teamwork, promotes balanced approach to avoiding blame with ensuring accountability, addresses human factors/ergonomics and encourages continuous knowledge sharing and learning at all levels.

Recognizing patient safety as a global health priority, 72nd World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted a resolution on “Global action on patient safety” in 2019. Among multiple actions for different stakeholder groups, building leadership capacities for patient safety to systematically instill safety culture into the health care delivery system, is one of the essential prerequisites for the health systems to ensure provision of safe and quality health care to populations, reduction of harm, cost-savings, and sustainable trust towards the system and improvement of the overall health system performance. The resolution requested WHO Director-General to develop normative guidance on minimum standards, policies, best practice and tools for patient safety and to provide technical support to WHO member States (MSs), especially to low- and middle-income countries, to create a safety culture by building capacity in leadership and management.

Moreover, considering that patient safety is a critical element of strengthening health systems, patient safety has also been included in the 13th General Programme of Work 2019–2023. In addition, Programme Budget 2020-2021 mandates building leadership capacity in patient safety and establishing an organizational safety culture.

Following the adoption of the resolution in 2019, WHO, in collaboration with MSs and key international stakeholders, developed the Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030 that provides a strategic direction for concrete actions to be taken by countries, partner organizations, health care facilities and WHO to implement the WHA72.6 resolution. Developing leadership for patient safety improvements and developing and fostering safety culture is discussed in detail under the Strategic Objective 2 of the Global Action Plan. Safety culture and effective leadership at all levels are also prerequisites for action on other strategic objectives and a cornerstone for implementation of the Global Patient Safety Action Plan in a comprehensive manner. So far, there is no current WHO guidance on establishing an organizational safety culture, and on building leadership capacities for patient safety.


Leadership Competency Framework for Patient Safety

  • Task 1.1: Perform a literature review on competencies important for ensuring patient safety improvements at policy and practice levels. Expected delivery date January 2022
  • Task 1.2: Modify the existing draft of a Leadership Competency Framework, based on a literature review.Expected delivery date January-February 2022
  • Task 1.3: Facilitate gathering of professional feedback to the draft Framework, including through the expert group meetings and consultations. Expected delivery date February-March 2022
  • Task 1.4 Prepare an advanced draft of the Leadership Competency Framework for Patient Safety, based on the feedback, and develop a corresponding assessment tool as an annex to the Framework.Expected delivery date April-June 2022
  • Task 1.5 Organize series of webinars on leadership for patient safety. Expected delivery date April-December 2022

Safety Culture Guidance

  • Task 2.1 Perform a literature review on safety culture and propose the structure and content overview for the Safety Culture Guidance. Expected delivery date January 2022
  • Task 2.2 Develop draft safety culture guidance, including survey/s, jointly with the respective collaborating centre/s. Expected delivery date January-February 2022
  • Task 2.3 Pilot/test culture surveys in different settings and gather professional feedback to the draft Guidance including through the expert group meetings and consultations. Expected delivery date March 2022
  • Task 2.4 Prepare an advanced draft of Safety Culture Guidance, including survey/s. Expected delivery date April 2022

Capacity building on safety culture and leadership for patient safety

  • Task 3.1 Develop training packages, based on the Leadership Competency Framework for Patient Safety and Safety Culture Guidance. Expected delivery date July-August 2022
  • Task 3.2 Validate and prepare an advanced draft of the training packages with education and training specialists, including through professional educational networks. Expected delivery date August-September 2022
  • Task 3.3 Organize series of capacity building activities at country level. Expected delivery date September-December 2022

Qualifications, experience, skills and languages

Educational Qualifications:


University degree in medicine, public health or health related discipline.


Postgraduate degree or specialization in health sciences, health management, public health, patient safety and quality of care.



  • A minimum of 6 years of experience in the areas of patient safety, quality of care, service delivery, public health or health systems.
  • Minimum 2 years of international experience.
  • Experience in developing and managing programmes and projects with involvement of a wide range of stakeholders and at different levels (global, regional, country), with focus on patient safety and quality of care.
  • Experience in developing training resources and facilitating capacity building.
  • Experience in performing comprehensive literature reviews.


  • Experience in working with UN agencies, NGOs, academic institutions, professional associations.
  • Experience in working with low- and middle-income countries.
  • Experience in developing competency frameworks, building leadership capacity at global, regional and country levels and establishing an organizational safety culture.


  • Knowledge of global health issues and developments, including universal health coverage and SDG agenda as well as the role of patient safety in health system strengthening agenda.
  • Good knowledge of and experience in engaging and coordinating a diverse group of stakeholders, including NGO-s and professional associations and networks.
  • Proven ability in convening and facilitating events at national and global levels.
  • Good knowledge of patient safety improvement tools and resources.
  • Excellent writing skills.
  • A good communicator and an effective team player.
  • Flexibility and ability to work within and contribute to a team.

Languages required:


Expert knowledge of English


Home based – Off-site


Travel is not expected at this stage. However, can be considered for expert consultations and capacity building activities, in accordance with WHO travel policy in 2022.

Remuneration and budget (travel costs are excluded):


Band level B

USD 7,000 - 9,980 per month

Living expenses (A living expense is payable to on-site consultants who are internationally recruited):


Expected duration of contract:

11 months

Start date: 3/1/2022 End date: 2/12/2022

Additional Information

  • This vacancy notice may be used to identify candidates for other similar consultancies at the same level.
  • Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
  • A written test may be used as a form of screening.
  • If your candidature is retained for interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
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