Communications Officer

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World Health Organization





Polio Eradication is a mission critical objective for WHO, as mandated by multiple WHA resolutions. The overall objective of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is to interrupt the transmission of all polio viruses worldwide, certify eradication, stop the use of oral poliovirus vaccine and successfully sunset the programme. GPEI aims to do this through implementation of the Global Polio Eradication Strategic Plan(Keeping the Promise) 2022-2026 by providing strong support to and collaboration with national governments, who lead these areas of work. This role is critical to ensuring that WHO EMR, the only remaining polio endemic region of WHO, realizes these goals and has in place the appropriate level of strategic communication and advocacy capacity to implement comprehensive communication policies and strategies for the Region.


Within the framework of the delegated authority, the incumbent is assigned all or part of the following responsibilities:

  • Develop, propose, implement and evaluate proactive coherent regional communications strategies to promote and advocate to increase the awareness of the Polio Programme (POL) goals, work and achievements; and ensure that it is aligned with and complements the global polio eradication initiative (GPEI) and WHO policies and strategies.
  • Supervise and manage the EM/POL Communications team and the work and deliverables of consultants. Oversee the role of the team as a secretariat for the cross-partnership advocacy for polio eradication in endemic and outbreak affected countries of the region.
  • Lead coordination of communications and advocacy with technical teams within EM/POL,WHO country level colleagues, WHO/HQ and GPEI partners at all levels.
  • Provide expertise on effective media strategies and implement proactive communications with media building long-term relationships in close coordination with WHO EM Regional Office and WHO POL/HQ and GPEI partners.
  • Coordinate media events, information briefings and other international events. During polio outbreaks and crisis communication events, liaise with communication officers across the three levels of WHO to strategically disseminate information. Advise senior management of issues of concern and flag issues requiring communications preparation and response, as well as respond to media queries.
  • Systematically ensure awareness coverage of WHO EMR’s Polio Eradication work and achievements, developing and disseminating technical and nontechnical articles and success stories.
  • Supervise the drafting and development of key communication products including WHO/GPEI messages, media talking points, press releases, position statements, audio-visual, photographic and printed materials and facilitate distribution and dissemination to the public and other key stakeholders.
  • Provide editorial guidance (i.e. copy editing and proof reading) to the technical team and information management officers to ensure quality control on regionally produced communication products including reports.
  • Coordinate the work of the secretariat for the Regional Subcommittee on Polio Eradication and Outbreaks.
  • Provide support to resource mobilization efforts through research and message development.
  • Lead on the development of country specific training materials and communication guidelines for WHO staff working on polio eradication and ensure that these are incorporated in WHO global and regional training curricula, organize and facilitate communication capacity building, developing communication strategies and ensuring their implementation.



  • Essential: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree) in journalism, communications, international relations, political or social science or related field.
  • Desirable: Studies or a degree in public health. Experience of film or video production


  • Essential: At least 7 years’ experience with international exposure as a communications officer in a large UN, private or public organization or as a journalist including television, radio and/or print, or spokesperson in a large non-governmental or international organization, involving information and communications projects and/or strategies on health subjects
  • Desirable: Experience in planning, implementing and evaluating media, information and communications projects/strategies, speech or campaign writing, elaboration of brochures, pamphlets and documentaries (written, film or others). Knowledge or understanding of WHO mandate and goals and of the polio eradication initiative or experience in similar positions in the UN or NGOs.


  • Proven knowledge of communication, information management and public relations.
  • Demonstrated writing and editing skills, with an ability to communicate effectively.
  • Ability to think and plan strategically.
  • Capacity to motivate others and work in an emergency situation under pressure while producing results.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills complemented by the ability to conceptualize ideas and promote consensus.
  • Knowledge or sound understanding of the impact of health emergencies and polio eradication on social and economic development and the challenges for polio eradication programme in the context of armed conflict and complex humanitarian emergencies.
  • Ability to “think out of the box” and to make innovative proposals as related to communication.
  • Knowledge or skills in visual design, website development.
  • Tact, discretion and diplomacy

Use of Language Skills

  • Essential: Expert knowledge of English.
  • Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of Arabic. Intermediate knowledge of Other UN language.





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