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UNICEF-Health Specialist (Cholera Emergency)-P4-Lusaka, Zambia

Lusaka, Zambia
Position Title: Health Specialist (Cholera Emergency)
Receiving Agency:  UNICEF
P Level: P4
Location: Lusaka, Zambia
Duration: Initially funded until March 31st, 2024 
Language: English 
  1. Background:

Cholera outbreaks in Zambia typically start in the epidemiological week 40 (October) of a particular year and continue through the epidemiological week 23 (June) of the following year. Generally, most cases are recorded in the unplanned high-density urban and peri-urban areas of Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces; and in the fishing camps/districts of Northern, Luapula, Southern and Central provinces.  Earlier in 2023, cholera outbreaks occurred in four provinces (Lusaka, Eastern, Muchinga and Luapula) with a combined total of 11 districts impacted in 2023. However, Zambia is currently experiencing a rapidly escalating cholera outbreak that started on 14 October 2023.  As of 13 January 2024, 8,724 cumulative cases had been reported (a substantial increase from the 2,521 cases reported on the 18th of December). Case fatality is high with 351 deaths (CFR of 4%).  The case load has already exceeded the last major outbreak in Zambia in 2017/18 which had a total of 5,935 reported cases and 114 deaths (CFR 1.9%). Notably, children under five years are the most affected and account for 40 per cent of the deaths, whilst 50 percent of the reported deaths are taking place in communities. Nine of the 10 provinces of the country have reported cases, though Lusaka remains the epicentre and hardest district/province in the country.

In response, the Government of Republic of Zambia (GRZ), through the technical leadership of Ministry of Health (MoH), has activated the cholera Incident Management System (IMS) lead by Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI). UNICEF is one of the lead technical agencies supporting MoH and ZNPHI to respond to this rapidly deteriorating outbreak in line with Zambia’s Multi-sectoral Cholera Elimination Plan (MCEP).

In this context, UNICEF Zambia is looking for a Health Emergency specialist with experience in cholera response to ensure a coordinated and effective cholera health response by UNICEF, with a focus in Lusaka and other high incidence districts in the country.

  1. Purpose of the assignment:

Under the overall direction and guidance of the Chief of Health and HIV Section, the Health Specialist – Emergencies (Cholera) will support the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) to design, development, planning, monitoring, and reporting of the implementation of cholera outbreak responses in line with Zambia’s Multisectoral Cholera Elimination Plan (MCEP). The incumbent will, specifically, support MoH and ZNPHI to strengthen the cholera case management through setting-up of community-based Oral Rehydration Points (ORPs) and the Cholera Treatment Centres (CTCs) with attention to paediatric case management; advising on referrals from communities and ORPs to CTCs; supporting micro-planning and preparation for Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) campaign; and collaborating with WHO, US-CDC, Africa-CDC, and other health cooperating partners to strengthen the coordination and management of cholera Incident Management System (IMS) led by MoH and ZNPHI.

  1. Key Functions, Duties, Tasks and Deliverables:

Programme Design, Development and Planning
  • Support and contribute to the preparation, design and updating of the on-going cholera situation analysis (e.g., weekly situation reports) to establish a strategic plan for development, design, and management of health-related interventions. Keep abreast of recent trends to enhance programme management, efficiency, and delivery.
  • Participate in strategic programme discussions on the planning and management of health sector response to cholera outbreak, , noting that children are disproportionately affected. Formulate, design, and prepare health sector response and accompanying programme proposals and reports, ensuring alignment with the Government response and health sector priorities and plans.
  • Work closely and collaboratively with colleagues and partners to discuss strategies and methodologies, and to determine priorities and competencies to ensure the achievement of concrete results.
  • Provide technical and operational support throughout all stages of programming processes to ensure integration, coherent linkages, and harmonization of programmes/projects with other UNICEF sectors (WASH, SBC, and Nutrition) and achievement of results as planned and allocated.

Programme management, monitoring, and delivery of results
  • Plan and/or collaborate with internal and external partners to establish monitoring benchmarks, performance indicators, and other indicators and measurements to assess and strengthen performance accountability, coherence, and delivery of concrete and sustainable results on cholera outbreak response.
  • Participate in monitoring and evaluation exercises to actively monitor cholera outbreak response interventions and activities through field visits, surveys and/or exchange of information with partners/stakeholders to assess progress, identify bottlenecks, potential problems and take timely decisions to resolve issues and/or refer to relevant officials for timely resolution.
  • Monitor and verify the optimum and appropriate use of resources (financial, administrative, and other assets) confirming compliance with organizational rules, regulations/procedures and donor commitments, standards of accountability and integrity, ensuring timely reporting and liquidation of resources.
  • Prepare regular and mandated programme/project reports, including situation reports, for management, donors, and partners to keep them informed of programme progress.

Technical and operational support to programme implementation
  • Provide technical guidance and operational support to government counterparts, NGO partners, UN system partners and other country office partners/donors on the interpretation, application and understanding of UNICEF policies, strategies, processes, and best practices and approaches on health-related issues to support programme development planning, management, implementation, and delivery of results.
  • Draft relevant strategic and programme materials for management use, application and information with attention to planning and/or responding to the cholera outbreak – with attention to children (e.g., paediatric case management).
  • Organize and implement capacity building initiatives to enhance the competencies of stakeholders to promote sustainable results on health-related programmes/projects.

Networking and partnership building
  • Build and sustain effective close working partnerships with health sector/cluster government counterparts, national stakeholders, as well as global partners, allies, and donors. Through active networking, advocacy, and effective communication, build capacity and exchange knowledge and expertise to facilitate the achievement of programme goals with attention to children and equity.
  • Prepare communication and information materials for programme advocacy to promote awareness, establish partnerships/alliances, and support fund raising.
  • Represent UNICEF in appropriate sector/cluster discussions and planning on cholera health-related issues, ensuring organizational position, interests and priorities are fully considered and integrated into relevant planning and agenda setting.
  1. Location and Duration
  • Expected start date: 5 February 2024
  • Duration:  6 months
  • Location: Based in Lusaka with an expectation to work outside of Lusaka at provincial level.
  1. Qualifications
Education: An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: 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 another relevant technical field
Experience: A minimum of eight 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 required.
Solid experience leading/managing responses to public health emergencies (like cholera) is required.
Experience with paediatric case management would be an asset.
Relevant experience in a UN system agency or organization is considered as an asset
Language Requirements: Fluency in English (verbal and written) is required.

CANADEM and its partners have a no-tolerance policy for inaction to prevent, respond to and follow up on alleged cases of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment (SEAH). For this reason, we adhere to all policies, procedures and training of the United Nations on The Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment (PSEAH). CANADEM mandates all deployees successfully complete the PSEA online course. This e-learning course is composed of a set of lessons designed to raise awareness about SEAH, become familiar with a range of measures to combat SEAH, understand the impact on victims and the consequences for UN Personnel who commit Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment.

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