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Health Specialist- Immunization, (COVID-19), P-4, ROSA, Kathmandu, Nepal, (Temporary Appointment-364 days) #00127923


  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Kathmandu
  • Grade: Senior Executive level - D-1, Director - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Ebola
    • Malaria, Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases
  • Closing Date: Closed

UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia is seeking a committed and experienced Health Specialist, Immunization (COVID-19) to coordinate, provide technical assistance, harmonize regional partnerships focusing on routine immunization, and to ensure a life course approach to vaccination and Integrated Service Delivery within PHC across the region.

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, health

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programmes, advocacy, and operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children's rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop, and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias, or favoritism. To the degree that any child has an unequal chance in life — in its social, political, economic, civic, and cultural dimensions — her or his rights are violated. There is growing evidence that investing in the health, education, and protection of a society's most disadvantaged citizens — addressing inequity — not only will give all children the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also will lead to sustained growth and stability of countries. This is why the focus on equity is so vital. It accelerates progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, while also supporting the equitable development of nations.

While the long-term fallout of the pandemic is yet to be determined, one thing is known: the impact of the pandemic on the lives of hundreds of millions of children and women has been severe. The immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health services was reflected in a global reduction of immunization coverage and a massive increase in the number of zero-dose children. Immunization coverage in South Asia, as a region, recovered in 2022, yet some countries are still to recover and the number of zero-dose children in the region remains high.

For countries to be able to catch up children lost during the pandemic, to recover their immunization services and return to pre-pandemic coverage levels, to accelerate the reduction of zero-dose children in line with the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030) goals, to introduce new vaccines such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), and to integrate COVID-19 vaccines in routine primary health care services throughout the life course, coordinated support by the main stakeholders UNICEF, WHO, Gavi, and partners is required.

UNICEF ROSA due to its geographical location has a dual task of coordinating and collaborating with two WHO Regional Offices, for the Southeast Asia Region (SEAR) and for the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), and therefore also needs to liaise closely with two other UNICEF regions, i.e., Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and East Asia and Pacific (EAPR). In both WHO SEAR and EMR RWGs are currently cochaired by WHO (Coordinator — COVID-19 Program, Immunization and Vaccine Development, Department of Communicable Diseases) and UNICEF (Regional Adviser, Health).

Gavi's Strategic Plan 5.0 (focusing on Immunization and HSS) evolved to Gavi 5.1 (including pandemic preparedness and response) for the period 2022-2025. To align with global changes, priorities of the RWGs have also been reviewed, and include new tasks and principles of technical and financial assistance to reflect emergency preparedness and response.

Following regional consultations with partners it was reiterated that:

  • Leveraging Gavi investments more strategically to strengthen health and community systems in the context of Primary Health care (PHC) for Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
  • Conferring immunization-related activities with all Gavi and non-Gavi-supported countries in the region. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed operational dynamics, challenges, and programmatic priorities with a focus on recovery of immunization and integrated service delivery, catch-up of children lost during the pandemic, and acceleration of the zero-dose agenda, while augmenting COVID-19 coverage including children. With growing economic crises, conflicts, and political unrest, there is an increasing focus on the Gavi transition countries, as well as Middle-Income Countries.
  • Improving coordination and harmonization of partners' support to governments.
  • Providing concerted leadership in advancing the Zero-dose and missed communities agenda to accelerate Immunization systems strengthening and the broader PHC agenda.

For the RWGs to play a more central role in the coordination, oversight, and troubleshooting of country immunization issues, they need to be revitalized, strengthened, and properly resourced. In addition, UNICEF ROSA needs to provide strong technical leadership in providing technical support to countries, including targeted support with respect to Gavi in-country processes, the zero-dose and missed communities agenda, and the introduction/rollout of HPV vaccine in the region.

How can you make a difference?

The purpose of this position is threefold, i.e., to enhance coordination and technical assistance for South Asian countries, focusing on sustaining momentum for COVID-19 vaccination among high-priority individuals and bolstering the Routine Immunization (RI) / PHC system. The goal is to improve collaboration and coordination both within UNICEF and among UNICEF, WHO, Gavi, and other partners to fortify national capabilities in reaching high-priority populations; oversee and harmonize regional partnerships focusing on routine immunization, in collaboration with the Immunization and HSS teams of UNICEF and WHO Regional Offices including assisting in the development of National Immunization Strategies (NIS); and drive the life course approach to vaccination and integrated service delivery within PHC across the region. 

Key function, accountabilities, and related duties/tasks

Reporting to the Senior Health Specialist, the Health Specialist- Immunization/COVID-19 and in close collaboration with the Immunization Specialist to:

Maintain momentum for COVID-19 vaccination of high-priority populations, staff members will:

  1. Support the integration of COVID-19 in RI / PHC systems through advocacy work with countries to reach high-priority populations and implement a life course approach in conjunction with the immunization supply chain, Social and Behavior Change (SBC), gender, and overall health teams.
  2. Support the identification of bottlenecks and devise solutions promoting equity, demand, gender, and integration opportunities.
  3. Collaborate and coordinate effectively with partners to support COVID-19 grant management including timely and proper utilization of funds (CDS, CanGlVE, ACT-A, and others) as per guidelines and agreements and reprogramming of funds for wider support to public health emergencies and PI-IC system strengthening, and to facilitate countries in COVID-19 vaccine demand forecasting.
  4. Represent ROSA in key regional and global COVID-19 fora and platforms and assist the senior health specialist in meetings and calls with partners and donors.
  5. Support countries in timely identifying and deploying suitable capacity to meet the technical assistance needs for COVID-19 vaccine integration and improvement of revaccination coverage.

Provide overall coordination and follow-up of the RWGs for immunization:

1. Facilitate effective collaboration and coordination between RWG partners towards achieving IA2030 goals, particularly pertaining to the Big Catch Up, Zero Dose agenda, COVID-19 integration, new vaccine introductions (HPV), and NIS:

  1. Foster joint strategic and technical leadership and represent ROSA at RWG events.
  2. Liaise between ROSA and the WHO & UNICEF regional technical hubs and chairs of the RWGs.
  3. Liaise between the RWG and Gavi and coordinate frequent monthly follow-up meetings between RWGs and Gavi.
  4. Support coordinated advocacy conducted by the RWG with governments to allocate appropriate funding for immunization and HSS, including the follow-up of recommendations from the Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (RITAG) and Technical Working Groups.
  5. Support the development of countries' National Immunization Strategies.

2. Take on functions of the RWG secretariat:

  1. Organize, facilitate, and chair weekly coordination calls among key partners.
  2. Organize, prepare, and facilitate meetings/conference calls of the RWG.
  3. Provide technical support for the dissemination and implementation of RWG recommendations.
  4. Monitor the implementation of meeting/conference call RWG recommendations with report back.
  5. Maintain oversight and track the progress of RWG activities including the development of an action plan with RWG key deliverables/milestones, monitoring the implementation of activities, and crafting quarterly status updates.

3. Support the Knowledge Management:

  1. Coordinate monitoring and documentation of common successes, challenges, constraints, and opportunities in strengthening national immunization programmes, including the implementation of Gavi processes, and writing reports and scientific articles as appropriate.
  2. Maintain the knowledge exchange function of the RWG through regular updates using available exchange platforms on the website and among partners.
  3. Position UNICEF ROSA as a platform for the exchange of information, lessons learned and experiences between countries and the region and the global level to build capacity and enable the improvement of Gavi's and partners' national programs and processes/policies.
  4. Support the analysis of data, reports, and strategic publications related to immunization to guide future direction regarding policy, strategy, and operational frameworks.

Drive the life course approach to vaccination and Integrated Service Delivery within PHC:

  1. Coordinate and participate in technical support to South Asian countries for the implementation of the life course approach in close collaboration with SBC and gender sections.
  2. Support planning and implementation of Gavi's Vaccine Investment Strategy (VIS) including Cholera, Dengue, Hepatitis A, Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Malaria, and Rabies in close collaboration with RWGs.
  3. Support countries for the preparation (support applications), introduction, and rollout of new vaccines including HPV in Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Pakistan, in close collaboration with SBC and gender sections.
  4. Support the Knowledge Management function of the health section:
    1. Support documenting country experiences with a life course approach to vaccination, the introduction of HPV, and Integrated Service Delivery and disseminate good practices and lessons learned through regional and global mechanisms,
    2. Organize events to share knowledge and experiences on life course approach, HPV introduction, and Integrated Service Delivery to facilitate south-south cooperation and cross-country learning.

Perform other duties that may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Contribute to the development of the ROSA annual work plan, monitor its implementation, and provide support to ensure expected results are obtained.
  2. Participate in the preparation of all reports related primarily to immunization required by management and donors.
  3. Participate in budget reviews, programme analysis, and annual reports.

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

  • An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: public health/nutrition, pediatric health, family health, health research, global/international health, health policy and/or management, environmental health sciences, biostatistics, socio-medical, health education, epidemiology, or another relevant technical field.
  • A minimum of eight years of professional experience in one or more of the following areas is required: public health/nutrition planning and management, maternal and neonatal health care, or health emergency/humanitarian preparedness.
  • Experience working in a developing country is considered an asset.
  • Relevant experience in a UN system agency or organization is considered an asset.
  • Experience working with COVID-19 PROGRAM and related partners is strongly preferred.
  • Experience working in the region is an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language Arabic, Chinese, French, 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 (8) Nurtures, Leads and Manages People

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 promoting the protection and safeguarding of all children. 


UNICEF’s active commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. For this position, eligible and suitable candidates are encouraged to apply.

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 canceled.

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 who 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.

To be eligible for the position, nationals should possess two (2) years of international work experience gained outside of the country of nationality.

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

This vacancy is now closed.
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