Individual Consultant: Technical Support to Ebola Virus Disease and COVID-19 Preparedness and Response

  • Mid-level, Short-term contract assignment
  • Posted on 16 October 2020

Job Description

Background/Rationale for the Assignment

The health system in South Sudan is fragile, suffering from neglect due to years of conflict and other critical gaps in skilled manpower, capacity and infrastructure. This weak base has resulted in an elevated disease morbidity and mortality burden across the country.

Communicable diseases remain a major public health challenge. Malaria is endemic across the country and nearly half (44%) of all children who seek medical attention will have malaria - many more will be infected but have minor symptoms. Malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia constitute about 77 percent of the total out-patient attendance for children under five. With regards to vaccine preventable diseases, vaccination coverage is still low with just over a third (39%) of children fully immunized against the main vaccine-preventable diseases. The fact that the country shares borders with six neighboring countries also raises the risk of spread of communicable diseases.

The outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) over the western border with the DR Congo remains a constant threat to South Sudan despite the scope of prevention and control measures put in place over the past few months. According to the WHO Africa Situation report on emergencies in the Africa Region of week 39 (21 - 27 September 2020), there were 12 new confirmed cases in the first three weeks of September 2020, spread over half of the health zones in the affected areas in DR Congo. This brings the total number of cumulative cases in DR Congo to 124 since the onset of this outbreak, including 50 deaths. Furthermore, the health sector in South Sudan has been put under further strain by the Covid-19 outbreak, with disruptions in service delivery for end users. As of early October 2020, the estimate of 2,704 Covid-19 ( C-19) cases reported is likely to be an underestimation due to the limited testing in-country. It is expected that the outbreak will continue over the coming months before flattening out.

The ever-present risk of importation and propagation of both EVD and C-19 call for continued vigilance, preparedness and response measures by UNICEF and all partners. Partnerships have to be continuously nurtured, technical capacity developed, along with the strengthening of logistic capacity and resources at all levels.

It is proposed to recruit a consultant for three months to oversee and provide technical and supply assistance to the MOH and partners as envisaged in existing UNICEF and sector work plans addressing the persistent risks of both EVD and C-19. The Consultant will also support the section in evaluating medicine needs, forecasting and procurements for other ongoing interventions.

Purpose/task & Expected Results

To coordinate and provide technical support for the planning, management and general oversight of the health component of UNICEF South Sudan’s multisectoral preparedness and response to public health emergencies including EVD and COVID -19, or any other emergency that may arise during the consultancy, within the framework of the UNICEF AWP and results, and current national preparedness and response efforts in country.

Specific tasks include:
a. Providing technical assistance and support to national and state level partners for the continued strengthening of Ebola Virus Disease and COVID-19 multisectorial preparedness and response measures, specifically for the continuous forecasting, procurement and rational use of supply assistance as recommended in global guidelines and detailed in existing work plans.
b. Providing technical assistance and support to national and state level partners for the continued capacity building activities for health workers for both EVD and C-19 multisectorial response measures as recommended in global guidelines and detailed in existing work plans.
c. Providing programmatic and technical guidance to the field offices and UNICEF IPs on how to better mainstream C-19 prevention and control interventions in regular programme interventions to enhance the continuity of services.
d. Overseeing the monitoring of preparedness and response measures for both EVD and C-19 to ensure that standards for interventions are met, bottlenecks identified, and the proposal of timely and relevant solutions to UNICEF
and key stakeholders for implementation.
e. Participating in rapid needs assessments and joint field visits with relevant sector/partners, if and as needed.
f. Supporting the health section to keep track of developments in the country and sector with regards to EVD and C-19, and advise on timely and relevant interventions as appropriate.

Qualifications and Competencies

• Advanced university degree in public health, medicine plus a master’s, MSc, PhD in public health or related field.
• 5-8 years of progressively responsible experience in planning and implementing emergency programmes with either the UN, IO, and/or NGO.
• Previous experience in Ebola outbreak preparedness and response required.
• Fluency in English (verbal and written). Good written and spoken skills in the language of the humanitarian operation and knowledge of another UN language an asset.
• Demonstrated skills to deliver in a stressful emergency environment, with tight deadlines and ability to establish harmonious and effective working relationships with partners.
• Familiarity with humanitarian principles, policies and response actions.

For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

Deadline: E. Africa Standard Time

About the Organization

UNICEF is out to change the world for children vaccination by vaccination, blanket by blanket, biscuit by biscuit, book by book. In most of America, these things are considered completely ordinary. But in many parts of the developing world, they can save a child's life. UNICEF is unique among world organizations and unique among those working with young people. As a global movement, we use our authority to influence decision makers and diverse partners to turn the most innovative ideas into reality. In 155 countries and territories, UNICEF's field staff uses hard-won expertise to meet the challenges facing children and those who care for them. Our history has given us a profound understanding of development and the importance of child health, education, equality and protection in advancing humanity. All that we do helps children realize their full potential. In support of UNICEF's work, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF focuses on five major priorities: education, emergencies, HIV/AIDS, immunization and malnutrition.

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