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HIV/AIDS Specialist (POC-EMTCT) NO-C Nairobi, Kenya (Kenya Nationals Only)

Nairobi (Kenya)

The POC & eMTCT Specialist will be responsible to accelerate the response to diagnostics for the HIV-infected mother, the HIV-exposed and HIV-infected infant in accordance to the national plan for accelerating HIV care and treatment, the EMTCT strategic framework and the national POC implementation plan.

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For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children's survival, protection and development. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

Purpose of the Position


The HIV prevalence in Kenya is estimated at 6% with 1.5 million people living with HIV in Kenya, of which Approximately 98,170 are children aged 0-14 years. HIV aquisition amongst children mostly occurs through mother to child transmission (MTCT), but despite increased access to antiretroviral therapy by pregnant and lactating mothers, the national MTCT rate stands at 8.3% with approximately 6,600 new infections occurring in 2015 according to the national HIV estimates report 2016. There are currently eight central laboratories providing Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) services across the country which prolongs lead time for sample transportation and turnaround time for the receipt of EID results. From available data, there are suggestions that many infants born to HIV positive women do not have easy access to EID as only 2189 of the 4300 active PMTCT centres in 2015 provided EID services. The eight national laboratories are equally mandated to offer viral load monitoring thereby necessitating the pooling of samples to these sites for all those that require such services, ultimately delaying receipt of the results. This causes delay in timely identification of treatment failure, switching those that have virologic failure to alternate regimens as necessary. Point of Care (POC) technologies are however becoming increasingly available, and implementation of POC programs for HIV diagnostics i.e. EID and viral load testing is anticipated to reduce turn around times for receipt of results and timely initiation of ART. It thus becomes important to assess the diagnostic capacity to address national testing targets as well as determine progress made towards the achievement of the Kenya AIDS Strategic Framework 2014/15-2018/19 (KASF)90-90-90 targets.


The MOH through the National AIDS & STI Control Program (NASCOP) been conducting a dual process of reviewing the elapsed elimination of mother to child (EMTCT) strategic framework 2012-2015 and developing a new country framework for eMTCT for HIV and syphilis 2016-2021. In addition, several guidelines and policy changes have been developed, which are geared towards enabling the health sector operationalize of the eMTCT agenda including the PMTCT, postnatal and Kenya Mentor Mother Program (KMMP) guidelines.


UNICEF will support the National HIV Reference Laboratories (NHRL) and NASCOP to objectively assess the diagnostic capacities for EID and laboratory preparedness for upcoming tasks and also use the information generated to plan for precise interventions that will help to address the shortfalls. To help carry this out, an analytical framework has been developed which will be used to strategically collect data on the burden of the HIV epidemic in the country/ epidemiological information, demographic information, program performance data, and laboratory performance data. These data will then be used to objectively determine the performance of the diagnostic landscape for EID and viral load tests and for understanding the problems so as to propose methods to address the problems as well as provide context specific information for appropriate placement of POC platforms to complement EID and viral load testing.


To ensure continued momentum on this is sustained, UNICEF seeks to hire a Temporary Assistance in the form of an NOC Point of Care (POC) and elimination of Mother to Child Transmission (eMTCT) Specialist for an initial period of one year.

Key Expected Results


Goal and Objective:

The POC & eMTCT Specialist will be responsible to accelerate the response to diagnostics for the HIV-infected mother, the HIV-exposed and HIV-infected infant in accordance to the national plan for accelerating HIV care and treatment, the EMTCT strategic framework and the national POC implementation plan.


References to RWP areas/UNDAF outputs

The role of the incumbent will significantly contribute to UNICEF KCO outcome 5, output 5.4 of the Nov 2017-June 2018 RWP that intends to improve access and quality of paediatric HIV treatment services.


This role will also ensure that UNICEF's contribution to the HIV response are met under commitments made to:


  • UNDAF Outcome 2.3: Multisectoral HIV and AIDS Response. By 2019, Kenya has reduced the socio-economic impact of HIV through a well-coordinated fast-tracked and adequately resourced multi-sectoral response towards an AIDS free population.
  • UNJP HIV Outcome 1: By 2019, all those in need have equitable access to and utilization of quality HIV prevention at national and county level
  • KASF Strategic Area Directions: 1, 3 and 4 i.e. Reducing new HIV Infections; Using a Human Rights based approach to Facilitate Access to Services; Strengthening Integration of Community and Health Systems.

Activities and Tasks:  

The PoC & eMTCT Specialist will:

  • Provide technical assistance to the leadership of the Ministry of Health to leverage and maximise eMTCT, POC and conventional laboratory investments as part of system strengthening of integrated and effective eMTCT and Paediatric HIV programming.
  • Provide technical support to accelerate the introduction of POC testing and provide targeted support for conventional testing systems with linkage to paediatric treatment. This will entail development and implementation of a national diagnostic scoping for HIV diagnostics (EID and viral load) through the development of an analytical framework to determine the performance of the diagnostic landscape for viral load testing and EID testing that would inform POC implementation.
  • Provide policy and strategy development support to the Kenyan Ministry of Health NASCOP and NHRL on eMTCT and POC implementation
  • Provide technical support for the dissemination of the national eMTCT strategic framework, POC policy and implementation tools
  • Support County Health Management Teams to strengthen planning, evidence generation and monitoring of results for women and children living with HIV and for HIV diagnostics.
  • Provide technical support and leadership within the UNICEF coutnry office and the UN Joint team for a harmonized eMTCT and Paediatric HIV care and treatment response.
  • Identify and document best practices in eMTCT and POC implementation for potential scale up
  • Identify opportunities to support shared learning to build awareness of, and knowledge about POC diagnostic technologies, in order to create demand for POC uptake
  • Contribute to development of progress reports and other documentation on HIV diagnostics and Paediatric HIV as well as related communication with the Regional Office and Headquarters.


Key Accountabilities and Duties & Tasks


Work Relationships

The POC & eMTCT Specialist will, on a day to day basis, work with the focal persons from NASCOP and NHRL, under the supervision of the Chief HIV and AIDS, UNICEF. The incumbent will be based in Nairobi with 30-40% travel to the 6 priority counties as identified by NASCOP and NHRL.


Outputs/Deliverables:   The following deliverables will be produced and will contribute to the objectives stated in the RWP


  • 6 counties with strengthened in HIV diagnostics and linkage to care for women and children living with HIV.
  • National Diagnostic Scoping for EID and Viral load developed,implemented and used to inform scale up?
  • eMTCT and POC Implementation policy and strategy developed
  • National eMTCT strategic framework, POC policy and implementation tools disseminated nationally
  • 6 County Health Management Teams with strengthened planning, evidence generation and monitoring of results on HIV diagnostics for women and children living with HIV.
  • eMTCT and POC implementation best practices documented and shared
  • 6 counties implementing the Kenya Framework for eMTCT of HIV and Syphilis


Qualifications of Successful Candidate

  1. Education: A basic degree in medical sciences, together with an advanced university degree at least at Masters level in Public Health, Child health, HIV and AIDS or other relevant  degree.
  2. Experience: At least seven or eight years' experience in PMTCT, paediatric and/or adolescent HIV treatment and care services, planning and programming at national and county level. Experience with laboratory systems an asset. Ability to apply technical expertise, work with people and persuade and influence.
  3. Language Requirements: Oral and written proficiency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or a local language is an asset.

Competencies of Successful Candidate

Core Values

  • Commitment
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Integrity

Core competencies

  • Communication
  • Working with People
  • Drive for Results

Functional Competencies

  • Formulating Strategies and Concepts Level II
  • Analyzing Level II
  • Applying technical expertise Level II
  • Learning & Researching Level II
  • Planning and organizing Level II


To view our competency framework, please click here

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organisation.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Nairobi (Kenya)
  • Grade: Mid/Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • HIV and AIDS
  • Closing Date: 2017-02-27

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