Organizational Setting and Work Relationships
The Public Health Officer is a member of a multidisciplinary team and will ensure that UNHCR’s public health programmes meet minimum UNHCR and global health standards in order to minimise avoidable morbidity and mortality among populations of concern (POC) and towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The incumbent provides strong and timely technical guidance to UNHCR senior management and partners including on the design and scope of UNHCR¿s responses in health and nutrition, catalyses the engagement of other actors, supports resource mobilisation efforts, including with the private sector, and monitors the response. S/he has close contacts with internal and external stakeholders such as government counterparts, UN Agencies and embassies/donors.
The Public Health Officer should also ensure consultation with communities seeking the diverse views of men, women, girls and boys, adolescents, youth, older persons, LGBTI persons, persons with disabilities , including people with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities, in assessing needs, designing, implementing and monitoring responses in line with UNHCR’s policy on age, gender and diversity mainstreaming.
Public Health programmes include primary health care, secondary health care, community health, reproductive health (including HIV), nutrition, MHPSS and health information systems. In addition to public health staff, major operations may also have dedicated staff focusing on any of these components but public health officers are expected to be very conversant with reproductive health programming and ensure that minimum standards are met. Depending on the size of the operation the incumbent may be expected to have major responsibilities for nutrition and MHPSS responses. The Public Health Officer will work with the (Senior) Programme Officer (or other designated staff member) to support operational collaboration and joint programming with WFP on nutrition and food security.
The Public Health Officer is normally supervised by a Senior Operations/ Assistant Representative (Operations) unless supervised by a Senior Public Health Officer. The incumbent has a functional line with the Public Health Section in Geneva regarding authoritative guidance and support in technical matters and is expected to maintain regular contact with the PHS and the Regional Bureau.
All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR’s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.
Coordination, Leadership and Partnership
- Co-ordinate public health, reproductive health, nutrition and HIV activities in support of the government¿s responses and in conjunction with other UN agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other partners, including development actors to ensure delivery of public health and nutrition services to beneficiaries (POC and host community) meet UNHCR and /or nationally recognised and most up-to-date standards and policies.
- Support the Operation to define the level and scope of UNHCR’s involvement in public health and nutrition responses in terms of overall and operational objectives during emergency situations and beyond.
- Support the Operation¿s engagement in the public health-related aspects of contributions of major donors to refugee responses, including the World Bank; taking part in assessments, design of projects, monitoring and evaluation.
- In line with the Global Compact on Refugees work with governments, humanitarian and development partners to ensure a whole-of-government (i.e. relevant national and local authorities for health and nutrition response) multi-stakeholder approach and planning to harness the comparative advantages of different partners to meet the health needs of POC.
- Represent UNHCR in public health coordination and other meetings including relevant inter-sectoral groups such as Technical Working Groups (TWGs) for MHPSS and nutrition, reproductive health, community health, among others.
- Engage in relevant partnership fora, including in line with UNHCR’s role as a UNAIDS co-sponsor of the Joint Programme on AIDS and co-lead with WFP of the Division of Labour area of HIV in Humanitarian Settings.
- Support operational collaboration with WFP including the implementation of Joint Assessment Missions and corresponding Joint Plans of Action in line with global commitments on targeting of assistance to meet basic needs and data sharing to support assistance distribution (in collaboration with programme and protection colleagues).
- Support robust and timely emergency responses to new refugee influxes or disease outbreaks or other public health-related emergencies in line with UNHCR’s Public Health Emergency Toolkit, Emergency Handbook and the SPHERE Handbook.
Strategic planning and development
- Contribute to development and/or implementation and monitoring of UNHCR’s Strategic Plan for Public Health and adaptation at country level.
- Work with others in UNHCR to advocate for refugees, returnees and other POC’s access to local public health, reproductive health (RH) and HIV, MHPSS, nutrition (including food assistance where relevant) and water and sanitation services and lobby for inclusion of refugees, returnees and other POC as a specific group in government policies and plans related to health, RH and HIV as well as major donor programmes such as the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria.
- Provide guidance and make recommendations on the overall strategy and focus of public health and nutrition programmes within the Area of Responsibility (AOR), including ensuring public health strategic approaches are developed in a multi-sectoral and co-ordinated manner in co-operation with government, UN agencies, NGOs and other humanitarian partners with due consideration to the approaches outlined in the Global Compact on Refugees and in support of the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG3.
- Provide up-to date assessment and identification of needs for public health strategies, recognise and support the contributions of governments and other actors align with and support national health system as much as possible; include curative, preventive, promotive, rehabilitative and palliative care; recognise the different approaches required for the stage of the humanitarian response (preparedness, emergency, stabilisation and longer term inclusion) as well as for settlement or camp-based POC and those in urban or non-camp situations.
- Contribute to public health strategies addressing known gaps in health and nutrition programming based on country/field-specific needs assessments with due consideration to neonatal and maternal health care, TB, HIV and viral hepatitis, non-communicable diseases including mental health, palliative care, health services for LGBTI individuals, health and protection services for persons selling sex and programming for persons with disabilities including access to assistive technologies and appropriate associated services, adolescents and the elderly.
- Support the development and monitoring of country specific medium to long term inclusion plans in support of the Ministry of Health and other relevant Ministries (e.g. Social Welfare) and in partnership with development and other actors.
- Work with stakeholders, including Ministries of Health, UN agencies, NGOs, academic institutions, POC and other relevant partners in the development of public health preparedness and response plans associated with refugee movements (including in repatriation programmes).
- Maintain and update contingency/ preparedness and response plans within the AOR for potential public health events including disease outbreaks and public health aspects of refugee and returnee movements.
Technical integrity and risk mitigation
- Update and disseminate standard practices on public health, MHPSS, nutrition, HIV and reproductive health among partners.
- Support the prioritization of primary health care (including preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care)
- Ensure, in close co-ordination with other humanitarian actors, that health care services provided to POC are based on Ministry of Health, UNHCR and/or internationally recognized and most up-to-date standards and policies.
- Establish and/or adapt UNHCR internal operating procedures to ensure they are in line with UNHCR and/or international standards and improve efficiency of programme activities; this includes – but is not limited to – referral health care, medicines and medical supplies procurement and management, medical resettlement and resettlement of persons with health needs, cash-based assistance for health care coverage and referral between units and inter-sectoral collaboration.
- Monitor and support compliance with, and integrity of, all Public Health standard operating procedures in conjunction with Project Control and Programme staff and in line with delegated authorities, including flagging to senior managers when these are not in line with global guidance or not being followed.
- Work closely with UNHCR programme, technical, field and protection staff to identify priority health issues and key data requirements for programme planning and monitoring to ensure that minimum UNHCR and international standards are being met.
- Support linkages of public health to WASH programmes throughout all stages of the programme cycle including in outbreak preparedness and response, emergency responses to refugee influxes, WASH in health facilities, community health education and menstrual hygiene management.
- Support inter-sector collaboration throughout all stages of programme cycle between public health and nutrition with WASH, education, energy, environment, shelter, and protection in order to promote synergies and maximise impact.
- Participate in the review and analysis of relevant project proposals and budgetary submissions presented by UNHCR partners within the context of the UNHCR programming cycle.
- Ensure that project plans or proposals submitted to UNHCR for funding adhere to internationally accepted standards, and are based on a comprehensive PHC strategy, rights based and meet the needs of vulnerable persons.
- Ensure consultation with communities seeking the diverse views of men, women, girls and boys, adolescents, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities and LGBTQI in assessing needs, designing, implementing and monitoring responses in line with UNHCR’s policy on age, gender and diversity mainstreaming.
- Ensure implementation of the UNHCR Health Information System and other relevant data collection tools including the balanced scorecard, maternal and neonatal death audits, Health Access and Utilisation Survey and other corporate tools where relevant; support the analysis, interpretation, dissemination and use of public health data.
- Advocate for the inclusion of refugees and other POC in national surveys such as demographic and health surveys, multi-indicator cluster surveys, AIDS indicator surveys including where possible a separate sample/oversampling to include refugees thus allowing for comparisons and trend analysis over time.
- Support national health systems to disaggregate data by refugee and nationals in key areas based on country specific needs in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- Monitor public health and nutrition programmes against standard UNHCR and international indicators, to ensure that programmes are evidence-based and implemented in a comprehensive, cost-effective and efficient manner.
- Support the planning, implementation, analysis, dissemination and use of nutritional surveys (Standardized Expanded Nutrition Surveys, SENS), health-related surveys and post-distribution monitoring exercises (in collaboration with WFP).
- Promote applied research and programme evaluation to enable the identification of gaps in programme implementation and standards, and to further promote evidence-based activities and guidance.
- In line with policies for Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) ensure POC have access to feedback and accountability mechanisms relating to public health and nutrition services including the collection and analysis of data on their satisfaction with regards to public health and nutrition services.
- Prepare regular sectoral reports and submit material for preparation of periodic project monitoring reports as required by the office at country level.
- Ensure adequate and accurate reporting, timely updates and briefings to donors and management.
- Support capacity strengthening of UNHCR and its implementing partners to address public health, nutrition, reproductive health, HIV, MHPSS programming in a co-ordinated, multi-sectoral way and disseminate relevant guidelines and information materials.
- Undertake and/or support capacity building needs assessments of UNHCR staff and partners and develop approaches to address capacity gaps including identifying internal and external training opportunities.
- In conjunction with the Public Health Section in HQ, Global Learning and Development Centre, bureaux and external actors support development of capacity strengthening tools and materials including webinars, e-learning materials and online learning tools and contribute to relevant communities of practices.
- Plan, organise, facilitate and participate in workshops in conjunction with Bureaux, Public Health Section in HQ, Global Learning and Development Centre and external actors.
- Perform other related duties as required.
Years of Experience / Degree Level
For P3/NOC – 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree
Field(s) of Education
Medicine, Medical Science, Medical Doctor, Nursing, Public Health
or other relevant field.
(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)
Certificates and/or Licenses
(Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)
Relevant Job Experience
Knowledge of public health, reproductive health and nutrition in humanitarian situations. Exposure to UNHCR mandate, its priorities and principles. Good communicator with strong interpersonal and negotiations skills.
Additional qualifications in Nutrition and WASH and a thorough understanding of the linkages with public health and food security. Ability to coordinate a range of diverse actors and activities to achieve a common objective in the area of Public Health.
How to apply
For a full job description and to apply, interested candidates are requested to visit the UNHCR career page click on the Vacancies tab and enter job ID 35206.
The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).
Please note that the closing date for vacancies advertised in the March 2022 Compendium is Thursday 21 April 2022 (midnight Geneva time).