Immunization Specialist (Coverage, Equity & Zero dose Catch-up) (P-4), Dakar Senegal, WCARO #129036 [Temp Appointment]

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  • Contract
  • Senegal


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, Hope

Job organizational context and purpose for the job

West and Central African region Immunization coverage is low and stagnant below 70% over years with a decline from 72% to 69% between 2019 and 2022 mainly due to the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. As a result, 6.3 out of 20.7 million surviving infants in the region did not receive the 3 recommended doses of DPT vaccine including 4.4 million zero-dose (24% of global burden) in 2022. The high number of zero dose children in WCAR represent 69.8% burden of un and under vaccinated children. The top 5 countries with the most zero-dose (DPT1) and under vaccinated (DPT3) children in 2021 include Nigeria (2,877 K), DRC (1,388K), Chad (291K), Cameroon(295K), Guinea (235K).

In 2022, the regional coverage of MCV1 was 64% compared to the target of 95% needed to prevent outbreak. Therefore, WCAR countries are confronted with recurrent vaccine preventable diseases outbreaks often occurring simultaneously and including resurgence of new outbreaks such as diphtheria which are disrupting existing health care delivery services and diverting scarce human and financial resources.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030) and the UNICEF Strategic Plan (2022-2025), the UNICEF Regional Office in West and Central Africa (WCARO) is implementing its 2022-2025 Regional Office Management Plan (ROMP) aims to deliver tangible results for children in the West and Central Africa Region (WCAR). It outlines the programming, strategic and management interventions, and strategic shifts where UNICEF needs to make greater investments over this four-year period.

The organizational focus that contributes to advancing the health agenda in the Region is Key Result #1 – Closing equity gaps in immunization through accelerated routine immunization. This is in line with the IA 2030 aiming 50% reduction in the number of zero dose children at country, regional, and global levels and 90% global coverage for DTP3, MCV2, HPVc, and PCV3 and the Gavi’s 2021-25 (Gavi 5.0) strategy which aims to leave no one behind with immunization. With the backsliding of immunization performance due to the C-19 pandemic, WCAR is embarked with the Global community in the Essential Routine immunization recovery process with the 3-prong approach: catch up past cohorts of zero-doze children, restoring & Strengthening immunization programmes.

To accelerate efforts and catch up missed children, restore, and strengthen immunization services, UNICEF along with global level partners have launched in 2023 the Big Catch-up initiative prioritizing in West and Central African region eight priority countries (Nigeria, DRC, Chad, Cameroon, CAR, Guinea, Mali, Niger) contributing to 89% of Zero dose children in the region. Several priority countries in WCAR have already finalized their big catch-up plan and are in the implementation planning phase, while other countries are finalizing the development of their big catch-up plan with the WCA Regional Working Group support.

In this regard, UNICEF WCARO, through its transformative agenda, is prioritizing seven change strategies with the aim of accelerating progress related to the KRCs with a particular attention given to leveraging the capacities and comparative advantages of key partners.

While moving this agenda forward, special attention is paid to building internal and local capacity on evidence generation, and use this evidence to influence policies, plans, strategies, and priorities at national and at district level to achieve equitable health in immunization with focus on zero -dose children and missed communities.

Why should we invest in reaching zero-dose children and missed communities?

  • Sustainable Development Goals: Reaching every child with immunization is a first, realistic step to leaving no one behind and universal health coverage.
  • Value for money: Immunization most cost-effective health intervention –countries will need to prioritize health spending as they recover from COVID-19
  • Greatest impact: Zero-dose children often live in missed communities suffering multiple deprivations, who are least resilient to VPDs.
  • Foundation for Primary Health Care: Immunization services can be a pathfinder for reaching missed communities with essential PHC services.
  • Health security: Missed communities’ potential source of VPD outbreaks.

Job organizational context:
This temporary position will be located in the UNICEF West and Central Africa Office, Dakar in Senegal. Under the supervision of the Health Specialist (Immunization), P4 #72465, the Immunization Specialist (Coverage, Equity & Zero dose Catch-up) will be part of the Immunization Unit in the Regional Health and HIV Section, and work in close collaboration with colleagues working on maternal, newborn and child health, health emergencies, nutrition, SBC, ICT, Supply. The position will also closely interact with WHO, GAVI SCM, and Country teams (government and partners) involved in Big Catch-up implementation.

How can you make a difference?

Purpose of the Job
The Immunization Specialist (Coverage, Equity & Zero dose Catch-up) will support priority countries in West and Central African Region to implement and monitor the Big catch-up interventions, while primarily leading the closing equity gaps in immunization through Essential Routine immunization recovery process with focus on the 3-prong approach: Catch-up on past cohorts of zero-doze children that accumulated during the C-19 pandemic, Restore immunization programmes returning to the trajectory towards reaching IA2030 goals, Strengthen immunization programmes to sustainably reach zero-dose children through PHC and community systems.
Accountable for ensuring the UNICEF Immunization programme promotes gender equality, with an emphasis on gender disaggregation, gender disparity identification and gender mainstreaming.

Key functions, accountabilities and related duties/tasks

  1. WCAR priority countries have big catch-up micro plans developed with WCARO support, and Coverage and Equity, gender and SBC activities integrated in microplanning and the implementation processes.
  2. WCAR priority countries have reported on number of ZD children reached, BCU dose utilized by antigen, countries updated BCU dose stock report.
  3. Countries supported to prepare and submit quality 2025 BCU forecast.
  4. Priority countries supported to develop Full Portfolio Planning and Equity Accelerator Fund workplans that took into account zero dose, gender analysis, and BeSD interventions.
  5. Countries supported for documentation of lessons learned.
  6. Effective development of immunization policy, strategic planning, and implementation
  7. Equity and coverage strategies implementation progress are monitored and evaluated for adjustment, acceleration and improvement of program delivery and sustainability.
  8. Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building in coverage and equity agenda at regional and country office to reach un and under vaccinated children and missed communities.
  9. Effective partnership and collaboration achieved and maintained for advocacy, technical cooperation, programme coordination, information sharing and knowledge networking.
  10. Other assigned duties and responsibilities are effectively performed.

Within the delegated authority and under the given organizational set-up, the Immunization Specialist (Coverage, Equity & Zero dose Catch-up) is accountable the following areas of major duties:

  1. Support development of immunization policy, strategic planning, and implementation:
    • Support WCAR countries with focus on priority countries in the micro planning and implementation processes, performance monitoring of Big Catch-up activities including the promotion of BCU integration with other health interventions during routine and supplementary Immunization activities /campaigns.
    • Support priority countries to develop Full Portfolio Planning and Equity Accelerator Fund workplans that took into account zero dose, gender analysis, and BeSD interventions.
    • Keep abreast of national/regional/global development trends and priorities to determine the strategies, approaches, and priorities for programming to address the equity issues.
    • Assist countries in conducting coverage and equity assessment and collaborate with Gender colleagues at HQ, Regional and Country levels to perform Gender Analysis based on the Organization guidelines and tools and integrate findings in country’s immunization plan and strategies.
    • Provide assistance to countries in planning and implementing zero-dose programming: Identify, Reach, Measure, Monitor, and Advocate (IRMMA), urban strategy, integrated and multisectoral approaches, community-based approaches, digitalization….
    • Assist Regional and Country Office teams and governments to develop and mainstream strategies to improve coverage and equity as part of wider country processes around annual immunization and health sector planning.
    • Assist Regional and Country Office teams and governments to identify unreached populations, and major bottlenecks and barriers preventing access and utilization of existing health services and propose evidence-based strategies to improve the effective uptake of health-related services including immunization at district and national level.
    • Coordinate the in-country and remote support to be provided to Country Offices and governments.
    • Contribute to the development of communication strategies, and to the implementation of plans and activities to promote awareness, establish partnership/alliances and support fund raising for equity-based immunization and health initiatives.
    • Develop and execute Regional Office support, participation, and contribution to the development of the zero-dose agenda and learnings, drawing on the broad and varied experiences and country typologies.
    • Co-develop advocacy materials with public policy team on zero dose for use within countries and support engagement on zero dose at wider development forum.
    • Support country teams on planning and implementing the zero-dose agenda through the provision of materials, the design of request for proposals for new partnerships, etc.
  2. Monitoring and evaluating equity strategies:
    • Ensure coverage and Equity related issues are addressed during implementation as well as Gender barrier and Risk communication and community engagement through promotion of Social behavior change innovative strategies (Social listening and digital engagement, Interventions based on Behavioral insights , Using human-centered Design approaches through Co-creation with communities) liaising with UNICEF Country Offices SBC and gender specialists.
    • Follow-up with countries the desegregation of BCU and routine data
    • Provide technical guidance to Regional and Country Office teams and undertake field visits to monitor progress and evaluate the implementation and the effectiveness of strategies used to improve coverage, reduce inequities, and reach underserved populations for immunization and other health related services.
    • Provide support for formative research and data monitoring to improve country programme delivery
    • Provide support to country offices, and their government counterparts including other development partners in the identification of opportunities for scaling up strategies proven effective to achieving better health outcomes.
  3. Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building:
    • Coordinate the collection, institutionalization and sharing of lessons learned and best practices in equity-related matters with programme staff at Headquarters, Country Offices and other partners through publications and webinars.
    • Support the development and roll-out of innovative methodologies including proven effective tools (Equits, CEA, GA, LiST, LQAS, etc..) to assess coverage and equity in immunization and other health-related services.
    • Plan, coordinate and implement capacity building initiatives to enhance the competencies of countries and partners to promote equitable and sustainable results in immunization and health-related programs.
    • Co-develop a learning agenda on zero dose with the Regional Office and Countries teams to identify early learning contexts and topics for multi-country contracts.
    • Improve guidance on the engagement of Civil Society Organization’s to support zero dose work.
  4. Effective partnership, collaboration for advocacy, technical cooperation, programme coordination, information sharing and knowledge networking:
    • Ensure regional office experts support to the BCU particularly on vaccine and Logistics management, Social behavior change including Communication/Advocacy and gender, M&E, digitalization
    • Consult and collaborate with internal and external colleagues and partners to provide technical guidance and operational support on program planning, management, implementation monitoring and evaluation.
    • Serve as the Regional Office focal point in all interactions with Country Offices, HQ, other regional offices, and partner agencies (Gavi and WHO) on equity matters.
    • Collaborate closely with colleagues from HQ, Regional Offices, regional and global platforms, and partner agencies to ensure synergy, integration, coherence, and harmonization of programs/projects initiatives with UNICEF Strategic Plans and to ensure alignment between different coverage and equity assessment approaches and methods.
  5. Other related duties:
    • Perform other related duties as assigned by supervisors and Regional Office including guiding, training, and coaching staff, interns, and consultants, as needed.
    • Represent UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office in relevant meetings at global, regional, and national levels to ensure that UNICEF perspectives are adequately represented in relevant strategies and frameworks related to equity.

Impact of Results

Action Impact
Makes decisions on coordination, technical assistance, consortium building and partnerships
Decisions will affect the overall efficiency and effectiveness of UNICEF’s programme results at regional levels.
Makes technical recommendations contributing to UNICEF’s policy development, programme design and other technical and organisational guidance in relation to immunization.
hese recommendations impact directly on the UNICEF’s positioning within the broader health community, with Govenrment and national partners, and the effectiveness of UNICEF’s programmes.
Quality Assurance:
Provides technical guidance to field programme/project activities, alignment with government health programmes, and partnerships.
Given the danger of poor immunization programme performance to UNICEF’s larger health activities and national systems, quality technical assistance will reduce both programme and reputational risk to UNICEF and partners.

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

  • Advanced degree in one of the disciplines relevant to the following areas: Medicine, Public Health, Paediatric Health, Global/International Health, Health Policy and Management, Family Health, Socio-medical Sciences, Health Education, Epidemiology, or other fields relevant to immunization.
  • At least 8 years of relevant professional work experience at national and international levels in development, planning, programming, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and managing of health/Immunization programmes
  • Substantive experience and technical knowledge on immunization
  • Work experience in low- and middle-income countries
  • Demonstrated experience in coordinating complex health and immunization processes, programmes and/or strategies
  • Experience with giving technical presentations and building capacity of Governments
  • Strong communication and negotiating skills
  • Demonstrated ability to produce high quality technical document, including reports
  • Experience with UN agencies is an asset.
  • Fluency in English and French required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish) is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships (2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (3) Drive to achieve results for impact (4) Innovates and embraces change (5) Manages ambiguity and complexity (6) Thinks and acts strategically (7) Works collaboratively with others.

During the recruitment process, we test candidates following the competency framework. Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels: competency framework 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.
We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.
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 is committed to promote the protection and safeguarding of all children. 


UNICEF’s active commitment towards diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children.

Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station, which will be facilitated by UNICEF, is required for IP positions. Appointments are also subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Should you be selected for a position with UNICEF, you either must be inoculated as required or receive a medical exemption from the relevant department of the UN. Otherwise, the selection will be cancelled.

All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. 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.

Government employees that are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.

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

Special Notice on UNICEF WCARO office relocation:

UNICEF and other UN Agencies will be moving soon to the new United Nations House in Diamniadio, 30 kilometers from downtown Dakar. The name of the duty station for this position will remain Dakar, Senegal.

Advertised: 24 Jun 2024 Greenwich Standard Time
Deadline: 07 Jul 2024 Greenwich Standard Time

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