Re-advertisement: National consultant to conduct a study on Immunization of Roma children

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Application deadline 8 months ago: Sunday 25 Jun 2023 at 21:55 UTC

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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, health

To analyse the cases of cities/communities where the immunization coverage of Roma children is high and, vice versa low, by defining the key success factors and structural bottlenecks; and develop a policy brief with recommendations to extrapolate good practices across the country and propose measures to address bottlenecks.

Roma children, regardless of age, are significantly more vulnerable compared to the rest of the population. At least one in three Roma children experience multidimensional poverty, compared to one in nine in the overall population. A larger portion of the Roma children face severe material deprivation, are more likely to live in poorer housing conditions, often in overcrowded homes, and they have been impacted by the COVID crisis more drastically than others.

The concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) for North Macedonia released in 2022 recommended that the authorities should continue to strengthen basic social services at the local level and prioritise social service delivery according to the needs of children in vulnerable situations, in particular Roma children. Similarly, in the 2022 report, the European Commission recommends that local governments and civil society organizations improve cooperation with social work centres to develop and support new community services around the country, including services to support Roma children who are victims of discrimination and segregation.

Roma are also more likely to lack the full series of vaccinations. UNICEF commissioned MICS survey showed lower coverage in regular immunization of Roma children (78.6 per cent), compared to 82.5 per cent of all children. However, the anecdotal evidence (including field missions) suggests that there are cities and settlements where the coverage is quite high.

It is to be also noted that the routine childhood vaccine rates have been declining in the country during and post pandemic period. Although this trend is beginning to shift, national coverage for all vaccines in North Macedonia is far below the recommended 95%. Unlike global trends where children living in the poorest and rural areas are more likely to miss out on one or several routine vaccinations, in Europe and Central Asia, including North Macedonia there is a higher prevalence of “zero-dose” children who live in urban and the wealthiest households. This is also in line with national research.

  • MMR: Although the national coverage has increased slightly compared to 2021 [MMR1 - 70,4%; MMR2 - 80,4%]; 2022 [MMR1 - 70,7%; MMR2 - 89,2%]; there is a number of municipalities with decrease in MMR vaccination rates that is larger than 5 percentiles, such as Bitola, Struga, Resen, Gevgelija and others. Additionally, rates in Kumanovo remain alarmingly low [MMR1- 40,3%; MMR2 - 88,2%].

  • UNICEF commissioned national research suggests that the most common concern of parents when it comes to vaccination is fear of potential side effects. Thus, UNIVEF has built its national campaign on a narrative supporting safety and efficacy of routine childhood vaccines, while at the same time emphasizing risks of delaying vaccination.

How can you make a difference?

Under the direct supervision of the Deputy representative and in close consultation with the CRM Specialist and Health

and Nutrition section, the consultant will be expected to carry out the following tasks and activities:

  1. Develop a methodology/scope of work to conduct data collection and analysis including the design of standardized questionnaires for individual interviews and focus group discussions with key informants - municipal administration, education, social and child protection services) to identify possible correlation (prove the initial hypothesis) between the successful rates of immunization and an overall inclusion of Roma children and families and vice versa.

  2. In close coordination with the MoH, Public Health Institute, the immunization committee and other stakeholders, identify a group of 12 diverse (size, region, etc.) municipalities that demonstrate high and low rates of regular immunization coverage, based on defined and agreed criteria

  3. Conduct a rapid desk research based on the existing evidence and conduct selective interviews with key informants to prepare a summary report of key bottlenecks in regular immunization. In doing so, identify the factors that prevent or delay immunization of Roma children.

  4. Conduct a series of in-depth interviews with key informants in the selected municipalities to identify a. common success factors of high level of immunization rates among Roma children and b. common barriers and structural bottlenecks in cases where the coverage is low.

  5. Develop a policy brief with recommendations to summarize the results of the research (desk review and interviews) including comparison of behaviours, attitudes and other factors (supply, demand) and suggest a way forward with measurable actions on how to extrapolate the successful cases of immunization among Roma population and suggest measures to address structural and/or other types of identified bottlenecks.

Tasks/Milestone:

To analyse the cases of cities/communities where the immunization coverage of Roma children is high and, vice versa- low, by defining the key success factors and structural bottlenecks; and develop a policy brief with recommendations to extrapolate good practices across the country and propose measures to address bottlenecks.

Deliverables/Outputs:

1) Develop a methodology/scope of work to conduct data collection and analysis including the design of standardized questionnaires for individual interviews and focus group discussions with key informants - municipal administration, education, social and child protection

services) to identify possible correlation (prove the initial hypothesis) between the successful rates of immunization and an overall inclusion of Roma children and families and vice versa. Timeline: by end of June, 7 working days

2) Conduct a series of in-depth interviews with key informants in the selected municipalities to identify a. common success factors of high level of immunization rates among Roma children and b. common barriers and structural bottlenecks in cases where the coverage is low.

Timeline: by end of August, 24 working days

3) Develop a policy brief with recommendations to summarize the results of the research (desk review and interviews) including comparison of behaviours, attitudes and other factors (supply, demand) and suggest a way forward with measurable actions on how to extrapolate the successful cases of immunization among Roma population and suggest measures to address structural and/or other types of identified bottlenecks.

Timeline: by 15 September, 7 working days

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

▪ Degree in Sociology, Social Science, Psychology, Public or Business Administration, or other relevant social science; An advanced degree in relevant fields will be considered an asset.

▪ At least five (5) years of relevant professional experience in the area of conducting qualitative research and analysis including surveys and in-depth interviews.

▪ Solid writing and analytical skills. Proven effective communication and interpersonal skills, and sensitivity to diverse cultural contexts and situations

▪ Previous experience with the UN will be considered an asset. Similar experience – qualitative survey on health, immunization

and/or Roma inclusion related subject will be considered as an asset.

▪ Fluency in written and spoken Macedonian language is required, knowledge of another local languages will be an asset.

▪ English language verbal and writing skills will be an asset

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS).

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants/individual contractors with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the selection process and afterwards in your assignment.

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.

Remarks:

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

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully-vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts.

Added 9 months ago - Updated 8 months ago - Source: unicef.org