Technical Officer

World Health Organization, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Skill Required:, Business Development/ Resource Mobilization
Preferred Experience: 
7 to 10 Year
Closing Date for Applications: 
15th April, 2019

Job Description

Background and Justification

Purpose of the Position

The Technical Officer manages time-bound projects aiming at coordinating readiness and technical inputs at country level and enabling close alignment of all readiness support activities. S/he fosters critical linkages within CPI department and WHE programme and provides expert technical support on public health programming, strategic and contingency planning, capacity building and other readiness activities.

The incumbent will be deployed to emergency operations when required.

Job Description

Objectives of the Programme and of the immediate Category

The mission of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme (The Programme) is to build the capacity of Member States to manage health emergency risks and, when national capacities are overwhelmed, to lead and coordinate the international health response to contain outbreaks and to provide effective relief and recovery to affected populations.

The objectives of the Country Health Emergency Preparedness & the International Health Regulations (2005) Department (CPI) include the monitoring and evaluation of countries’ preparedness to health and humanitarian emergencies, the planning and country capacity building for critical capacities and the Secretariat of the International Health Regulations (2005) involving an all-hazards approach at all three levels of the Organization. The CPI Department prioritizes support to the most vulnerable and low capacity countries.

The Disaster Risk Management, Vulnerability Assessments and Readiness team provides, in close collaboration with Regional and Country Offices, direct country support for the development and implementation of health emergency readiness and disaster risk management plans in high-vulnerability low-resources countries. The team’s work allows such countries to rapidly acquire the minimum capacity to increase their emergency readiness while the more comprehensive national preparedness plan is being developed and/or implemented. The team takes an all hazards approach and includes vulnerability assessment, WHO readiness, exercises and the development and follow-up of emergency readiness plans to rapidly fill crucial gaps in disaster risk management and in surveillance and response core capacity required under the International Health Regulations (2005).

Organizational context (Describe the individual role of incumbent within the team, focusing on work environment within and outside the organization)

The Technical Officer reports to the Team Leader, Disaster Risk Management, Vulnerability Assessments & Readiness, with second level supervision by the Director, CPI.

The incumbent contributes to strengthening institutional readiness and effective public health response to emergencies, through provision of expert technical support to WHO Regional and Country Offices and health partners on public health programming, strategic and contingency planning, business continuity planning, capacity building and other readiness activities as well as to initiating, recommending and advising on relevant policies. S/he provides strong country and regional technical support and coordinates with Regional and Country WHE programme counterparts in the development and application of global, regional and country level positions, technical materials and methods. S/he exercises judgement on the relevance of WHO’s guidelines and may propose their adaptation or modification or recommend new guidelines to meet particular requirements or changing circumstances. Assignments involve ongoing contacts with staff at all levels within WHE, CPI and throughout WHO including Regional Advisers, funding partners, other policy and technical staff in partner agencies (both within and outside the UN system) and staff of Ministries of Health and related Ministries involved in emergency risk management and response, to foster coordination, consolidate needs, to plan, coordinate and manage the implementation of readiness plans and activities.

The incumbent is expected to welcome opportunities to support multi-disciplinary, cross cutting approaches to work and facilitates participation in such approaches. Work is regularly reviewed in discussion with the supervisor, in briefings and de-briefings.

The present position under WHE (which is a single Programme across the Organization) may be relocated to another duty station, including at Regional or Country level, based upon the technical needs of the Programme.

*Summary of Assigned Duties (Describe what the incumbent has to do to achieve main objectives; include main achievements expected)

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

  • Manage technical projects aiming at strengthening vulnerable and resources-limited countries` readiness to health emergencies. In order to do so, map organizational readiness needs, available tools, equipment and activities in collaboration with relevant WHO HQ departments, Regional Offices and Country Offices across WHE programme; prioritize activities and ensure a work plan and funding plan to achieve readiness milestones. Consider various partners to verify if they can fill readiness gaps to support the country national plan. Support vulnerability assessments in priority countries.
  • Develop standard global readiness guidelines and tools as required, including a standard Business Continuity Planning template for Country Offices, and contribute to overall HQ Business Continuity Planning, in collaboration with WHE programme units and other HQ departments. Provide advice on the consolidation of country needs under a single national plan and budget estimate and foster coordination with PCB technical teams and funding partners for readiness activities implementation.
  • Provide remote and direct guidance and technical support to HQ\WHE/CPI and WHO Regional and Country Offices for the development of operational readiness strategies and activities in the context of acute and protracted humanitarian emergencies. Constitute spare capacity for the implementation of WHO-wide simulations and regular HQ desktop exercises to test the emergency response framework.
  • Manage relevant aspects of the Organization-wide Standard Operating Procedures for humanitarian action and response in all levels of emergencies, collaborating closely with relevant clusters and departments.
  • Promote multi-disciplinary and cross-cutting approaches and activities to facilitate full participation within and outside WHO/WHE/CPI and key partners.
  • Perform other related responsibilities, including replacing and/or backstopping.

Recruitment Profile


  • Communicating in a credible and effective way
  • Ensuring the effective use of resources
  • Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond
  • Fostering integration and teamwork
  • Moving forward in a changing environment

Functional Knowledge and Skills

Describe the essential knowledge and the skills specific to the position

  • Knowledge of the UN and humanitarian systems for emergency response and preparedness and of humanitarian fundraising.
  • Strong strategic thinking, with the ability to quickly comprehend strategic and tactical objectives and to formulate plans to address challenges and risks.
  • Ability to negotiate across multiple teams and agencies to common purpose.
  • Proven capacity to lead and deliver on deadlines during periods of intense stress and activity.
  • Demonstrated capacity to organize, monitor and synthesize information quickly and concisely.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communications skills with solid writing and editing experience.
  • Demonstrated capacity to adjust to changing requirements.

Education Qualifications

  • Essential: Advanced university degree in public health, or health sciences, or business management or related fields
  • Desirable: Training in emergency/disaster preparedness and response



  • At least 7 years of experience at national and international levels in emergency preparedness (all-hazards approach) and response work.
  • Proven experience in operationalising complex projects in the field, including contingency and operational planning.
  • Proven experience with institutional readiness activities including development of SOPs, business continuity planning, training, simulations, at both field and global levels.


  • Experience with managing humanitarian emergency health response in settings of acute and slow onset disasters/crises, conflict situations, and particularly in protracted emergencies at both field and global levels.
  • Relevant experience in strategy formulation and interagency collaboration.
  • Relevant work experience in or with WHO or other UN agencies.
  • Experience of work with relevant non-governmental or humanitarian organizations.

Use of Language Skills

  • Essential: Expert Knowledge of English or French with a working knowledge of English.
  • Desirable: A working knowledge of another UN language used in AFRO in addition to the above.

Other Skills (e.g. IT): Computer literacy.


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