Health Specialist (Spécialiste Survie et Developpement de l'Enfant), NOC, Parakou, Imis # 116331. Poste Temporaire. BENIN

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Application deadline 1 year ago: Tuesday 13 Jul 2021 at 17:15 UTC

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For every child, Health

Organizational Context: Benin is a stable democracy in West Africa with a socially and culturally diverse population, currently estimated at over 11 million, 51 per cent of which are children and 25.6 per cent, adolescents. Most of the population (55.4 per cent) lives in rural areas, though the country is undergoing rapid urbanization (3.67 per cent per year). The national context is marked by the Government’s commitment to implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Government Action Programme, 2016-2021. 2016 Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis, revealed that 43 per cent of children lived in poor households and 64.5 per cent were deprived of at least three essential needs (health, nutrition, education, sanitation, etc.). Multidimensional child poverty affects more children than monetary poverty. The most deprived children live in households that are rural, poor, large and/or headed by a person with a low level of education. Children living in some departments in northern and central Benin suffer more deprivations than elsewhere in the country. Important investments in priority social sectors are made by the country over the past years. At present, health (7 per cent) and education (23 per cent) together account for around 30 per cent of annual public spending. There have been notable improvements in health service coverage and access to drinking water. Between 2011 and 2016, the neonatal, infant and under-five mortality rates fell respectively from 32, 67 and 125, to 31, 63 and 98 deaths per 1,000 live births, although significant disparities remain. Mortality rates are highest among the poorest children, those with less-educated mothers and those living in some departments in the north where the field office is located and the centre of the country. According to a UNICEF report, Benin will need to at least double its rate of progress to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target for neonatal mortality by 2030. Malaria, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections cause 37.8 per cent of deaths among children under-five. The proportion of children fully immunized by the age of 12 months has remained unchanged at 41 per cent since 2006. The rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV stands at 6.7 per cent. Approximately 37 per cent of rural health facilities have basic equipment, compared to 55 per cent in urban areas. Chronic malnutrition remains high (34 per cent). Stunting is more than twice as likely to affect children living in the poorest households (46 per cent) and in some departments, especially in the north of the country, than those living in the wealthiest households (18 per cent). Access to improved sanitation facilities is low (14 per cent), with significant disparities between urban and rural areas. Consequently, Benin has one of the highest open defecation rates in the region.

How can you make a difference?

Purpose of the Job: Under the direct supervision of the Chief of Field Office in Parakou with technical guidance from the CSD team in Cotonou, the CSD Specialist is responsible for the development, coordination, management, planning and implementation of the health, nutrition and WASH services. The post will provide strategic leadership in delivery of technical assistance of the programme, innovation and knowledge sharing in the sector to effectively respond to developmental needs of children and women in the north of the country. Accountable for effective technical and programme support to facilitate the evidence-generation, policy works and scaling up evidence-based interventions for vaccine-preventable diseases and malaria control programme with government partners and other stakeholders; making sure that all will be aligned with UNICEF regional priorities (KRC), Country Programme Action Plan, and national programme priorities, including the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

Key functions, accountabilities and related duties/tasks:

Within the delegated authority and under the given organizational set-up, the incumbent will provide support and supervision to CSD team in UNICEF BENIN’s Field Office of Parakou.

1. Timely sectoral analysis, input and support contribute to the Situation Analysis and its periodic update for effective programme planning, development and management.

Contributes to the preparation of the Situation Analysis by compiling, analysing and evaluating information and providing the technical input and support to child survival & development (CSD) interventions and its periodic update. Prepares sectoral input to the Country Programme Document and all related documents (e.g., Country Programme Recommendation, Plans of Action, and Country Programme Summary Sheet). Contributes to the consultation and coordination with key partners at all levels.

2. Quality contributions are made to the development of policy advice and integrated CSD strategies and approaches through participation and collaboration with internal and external partnership.

Works with other UNICEF sectors, particularly Nutrition, HIV/AIDS, WASH, Education, Protection, and programme communication to ensure integration of the health, nutrition and WASH programmes with other sectors. Contributes to build on intersectoral experience and establish partnerships to promote innovative approaches in addressing system bottlenecks around determinants of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent services, recognizing that child survival & development outcomes are not the results of action in the health sector alone.

Participates with UNICEF, Government, non-government organizations (NGOs) and other partners in the development of strategies and approaches relating to health, WASH, nutrition and HIV services and system strengthening of programmes. Monitors status to ensure achievement of strategic results in line with agreed Annual and Country Programme outcomes and adopts corrective action to meet programme outputs.

Contributes to the identification and introduction of new approaches, methods and practices in government-led programme management for improving service delivery with emphasis on bottleneck removal strategies, scale-up and sustainability of interventions and community participation.

3. Work plan and output(s) are strategically established, implementation support is effectively provided, and planned results are timely delivered through application of technical expertise.

As functional leader and manager of the Child Survival & Development team, exercises technical and programme management leadership for the development and implementation of the results-based sectoral work plan and output(s) as well as for administration and monitoring of key innovative and modelling activities, consistent with the defined programme strategic priorities and approaches.

Ensures Outputs and targets are timely achieved, through full coordination between activities and collaboration with implementing partners, by providing guidance and support to staff of CSD.

4. Innovations and demonstration modelling in health, nutrition, HIV and WASH are monitored and evaluated for adjustment, acceleration and improvement of programme delivery and sustainability.

Undertakes field visits to monitor programmes, as well as participates in periodic programme reviews with government counterparts and other partners. Identifies necessary action for programme adjustments. Provides technical advice and support to government officials and implementing partners in the planning and management of the health systems particularly in maternal, newborn, child health services and disease prevention & control programmes and ensures their sustainability. Support maintenance of information system for monitoring equity through geographical and sex aggregated data.

5. Technical assistance is provided to government and NGOs and all other partners at various stages of sub national-led programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation, including capacity building of government’s and NGO personnel.

Provides technical support to sub-national governments and NGOs in the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation stages of the health and nutrition programmes/projects.

Identifies training needs; designs and conducts training and orientation activities for government personnel and beneficiaries and other relevant partners, for the purpose of capacity development, scaling up, sustainability of programme/projects and replication of services.

6. The capacities of Zone Offices staff are strengthened through effective capacity building support in the development, implementation and management of the child survival & development programmes.

Designs and implement a staff training/development programme to upgrade the capacity of the Country Office staff with regard to competencies for technical requirements as well as for the programme development, implementation and management of CSD programmes. Conducts relevant orientation, workshop, training and staff learning/development activities, including relying on technical support from country office and partnership with collaborating agencies to provide state-of-the-art -technical information to staff.

7. UNICEF and Government accountability is ensured for supply and non-supply assistance and disbursement of programme funds for Child Survival & Development.

Coordinating with country office staff on supply and non-supply assistance activities, ensures UNICEF, Government partners and all implementing partners’ accountability. Certifies disbursements of funds, ensuring those activities are within established plans of action and programme budget allotments; and to orientate and train Government and UNICEF implementing partners in UNICEF supply and non-supply policies and procedures. Monitors the overall allocation and disbursement of programme funds, making sure that funds are properly coordinated, monitored and liquidated. Submits financial status reports to management in compliance with the regulations and guidelines.

8. Effective working relationships with internal and external counterparts are kept maintained for advocacy, technical coordination, information sharing and knowledge networking.

Coordinates activities and exchanges information and knowledge with other programmes to contribute to achievement of overall country programme objectives. Builds up effective monitoring, knowledge database/network and reporting systems 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 health, WASH and nutrition; and to widen partnership with all stakeholder at national, regional, commune, community and household levels as well as with funding partners including the private sector in order to fulfil national programme priorities, including the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

Facilitates partnership and collaboration with external counterparts, including those of the UN and sub-national partners, in order to improve the ability to collect and disseminate relevant data, and to exchange information on programme/project development and implementation. Facilitates exchange of knowledge, information, experience and lessons learned.

9. Relevant and strategic information is kept available to support the child survival & development programme by the effective implementation of an integrated monitoring system.

In collaboration with monitoring and evaluation and communication colleagues, conducts accurate and timely monitoring and data collection, and supports an integrated monitoring system, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

Coordinates with partners to ensure that monitoring systems are properly designed, and that data collection and analysis from field visits are coordinated and standardised across programmes to feed into to programme performance monitoring.

Provides assistance for evaluation exercises, programme mid-term review, annual sector review and preview meetings with Government counterparts and all other relevant partners. Analyses and evaluates monitoring data, ensures achievement of objectives and proposes corrective measures as appropriate.

10. Required programme/project reports are timely prepared in compliance with the established guidelines and procedures.

Contributes to the timely preparation of annual sector status reports and shares information with relevant partners as required 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.

11. Emergency preparedness is maintained, and in emergencies, emergency responses with effective coordination are provided.

Supports emergency preparedness plan relating to Health, Nutrition and WASH. In case of emergency, assists in monitoring and assessing the nature and extent of the emergency in the assigned area, as required. Provides assistance to the Country Office in identifying where support is required. In line with the Core Commitments for Children (CCCs) in Humanitarian Action, strengthens partnerships with the Health humanitarian actors within the Inter-Agency Standing Committee.

12. Day to day coordination of health, WASH, nutrition programme in Parakou field office and other assigned duties and responsibilities are effectively accomplished.

Coordinate, supervise and manage health and nutrition staff in Parakou field office. Assumes any other duties and responsibilities assigned as appropriate to the purpose of this post, and delivers the results as required. Impact of Results: The efficiency and efficacy of support provided by the Health Specialist to programme preparation, planning and implementation facilitates the delivery of concrete and sustainable results that directly impact the improvement of the health of the most marginalized and vulnerable women and children specially in the north of Benin country. This in turn contributes to maintaining and enhancing the credibility and ability of UNICEF to continue to provide programme services to protect the rights of children, and to promote greater social equality to enable them to survive, develop and reach their full potential in society.

Recruitment Qualifications:

Education: An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: public health/nutrition, pediatric health, family health, health research, global/international health, health policy and/or management, environmental health sciences, biostatistics, socio-medical, health education, epidemiology, or another relevant technical field.

Experience: A minimum of five years of professional experience in one or more of the following areas is required: public health/nutrition planning and management, maternal and neonatal health care, or health emergency/humanitarian preparedness.

Experience working in a developing country is considered as an asset.

Relevant experience in a UN system agency or organization is considered as an asset.

Language Requirements: Fluency in French and English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language is an asset.

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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.


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

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