Programme Assistant

World Health Organization

Sofia, Bulgaria

Experience: 5 to 10 Years

Skill Required: Administration


All Member States of WHO in the European Region share the common value of the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental human right. All of Who’s actions are based on this and rooted in the underlying value of equity as described in the General Programme of Work. The 13th General Programme of Work defines the mission of WHO as one to promote health, to keep the world safe, and to protect the vulnerable. The GPW calls for heightened accountability, prioritizing impact and outcome at country level, and to improve the lives of three billion people, through universal health coverage, through addressing health emergencies, and promoting healthier populations. WHO's mandate revolves around six core functions:

  • providing leadership on global health matters;
  • shaping the health research agenda;
  • setting norms and standards;
  • articulating evidence-based policy options
  • providing technical support to countries; and
  • monitoring and assessing health trends.

The European Region (EURO) of WHO is made up of 53 countries, with over 880 million people. The diversity of people and health situations requires, on the demand side, a solid understanding of the emerging socio-economic, epidemiologic and demographic patterns and trends at both aggregate as well as national and sub-national levels, with due sensitivity to disadvantaged populations and vulnerable segments of the society. On the supply side, it is equally crucial to have a solid understanding of the commonalities and divergences' of the health systems, the circumstances and political economy under which they have evolved and operate and, more specifically, how these bear upon the way the health system stewardship function of health ministries is carried out. The WHO Country Office supports the Member States to shape their health policy in line with WHE's principles and values and advocates for an integrated approach to health development. By means of a single, unified and functionally integrated country representation, WHO facilitates the Implementation of the BCA with the Member States and their corresponding country work plan. WHO helps the country to improve its health system and provides technical support as necessary. The WHO Country Office administers, consolidates, manages and enhances WHO collaboration in the country including all resources deployed in the country either permanently or temporarily to maximize WHO Impact. The Country Office also has a representation, fund-raising and resource steering function, as needed.


  • As part of a unit team, the incumbent performs a variety of secretarial, coordinating, monitoring and administrative services in support of project/programme activities, as follows:
  • Drafts correspondence and documents based on written/verbal prompts from the Professional staff of the unit. Independently composes and finalizes correspondence of administrative nature.
  • Revises unit correspondence, reports, and documents for proper form and (non-technical) content.
  • Takes notes at meetings. Types reports and other documentation.
  • Arranges duty travel.
  • Scans, records, refers and follows up correspondence and documents, evaluates the urgency or critical nature of items, and brings them to the attention of the responsible staff.
  • Informs and reminds responsible staff of follow-up dates and deadlines for response or specific actions, supplying supporting material as appropriate.Using GSM, monitors aspects of the implementation of activities and availability of funds for project/programme budget levels and financial expenditures, according to the approved projects.
  • Assembles draft background for planning, monitoring and evaluation exercises. Inputs duty travel recommendations and issues reminders re follow up, records project/programme monitoring and evaluation notes.
  • Makes administrative arrangements for country and inter country activities including preparation of various committal documents related to procurement of goods and services, arrangements of study tours and duty travel in accordance with the approved programme budget/collaborative programmes with countries.
  • Assists in the organization of meetings held in-house or in Member States (working groups, seminars/courses, workshops, and symposia), i.e.: makes administrative preparations, including organization of practical local arrangements, advance transport of documents/equipment and hospitality.
  • Provides administrative and secretarial support during the meetings, and pays per diem to participants if required.
  • Prepares administrative reports. Establishes and maintains the unit's filing system of technical documents and correspondence.
  • Creates background files and compiles reference material as appropriate.
  •  Accesses and retrieves information from relevant databases and updates as required. Responds to and acts on telephone enquiries.
  • Assesses the critical nature of technical enquiries and refers them to appropriate staff for reply. Coordinates appointments for supervisor and organizes programmes for visitors.
  • Provides briefing and guidance to all staff on general office practices and procedures; assists/replaces colleagues in the team and performs other related duties as required.



  • Essential: Completion of secondary school or equivalent.
  • Desirable: Relevant higher education from an accredited institution.


  • Essential: At least 5 years of progressively responsible experience in the secretarial/administrative field.
  • Desirable: Experience in an international environment or institution. Relevant experience in WHO or in the UN.


  • Proficiency in the use of standard office computer software, note taking and operation of computerized systems and databases.

Use of Language Skills

  • Essential: Expert knowledge of English. Expert knowledge of Local Language.
  • Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of Official EURO language.