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Senior Public Health Officer

Beirut (Lebanon)

Before submitting an application, UNHCR staff members intending to apply to this Job Opening are requested to consult the Recruitment and Assignments Policy (RAP, UNHCR/HCP/2017/2 and the Recruitment and Assignments Administrative Instruction (RAAI), UNHCR/AI/2017/7 OF 15 August 2017.

Senior Public Health Officer

ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXT

UNHCR is the lead agency for the Syrian refugee response responsible for cross-sectorial coordination and leadership to ensure protection, livelihood, to improve health and well-being of the refugees through the achievement of basic living standards and sustained access to asylum, basic rights and services.

In Lebanon over one million Syrian refugees live in over 2,100 locations scattered in various accommodation types all over the country, making it difficult to target them with essential services. Ensuring adequate protection, and finding durable solutions for the approximately 20,000 refugees of other nationalities (mainly from Iraq) is similarly difficult.

The displacement of refugees into Lebanon occurs in the context of inadequate human and financial resources by national institutions.  The health care system in the country is largely privatized and of high cost. It is characterized by a dominant private sector working on a fee for service basis. Health services are purchased by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH). Primary and secondary health care for refugees is provided via the network of contracted/owned heath care centres and contracted hospitals certified by the MOPH. The Lebanese government together with UN agencies, NGOs and donors are facing the dual challenge of promoting access to health services for both vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugees.  Sustainability of meeting health care needs of refugees funded by voluntary humanitarian contributions remains of a great concern.

Indeed, Syrian refugees¿ response in Lebanon is now into its seventh year and it has reached an important junction towards sustainability and cost-efficiency, and hence it is imperative that it be aligned with changing needs and operational capacities, building on strengths of major actors and opportunities in the operation context of the country.

In light of the magnitude and the specificity of the crisis, UNHCR had to separate its tasks between the coordination of the response of all operational partners and the implementation of its own programmatic response. To facilitate this approach, the sector specialists have been divided between those in charge of the implementation reporting to the Assistant Representative (Programme) and those in charge of the coordination reporting to the Senior Inter-Agency Coordinator. 

The Senior Public Health Officer will ensure that UNHCR's health programmes meet minimum international UNHCR and international health standards; the incumbent plays a crucial role in assessment, programme coordination, planning, implementation and monitoring including data analysis and evaluation, capacity building of UNHCR personnel and partners, and advocacy, information and communication on public health-related issues. Furthermore, the incumbent plays a crucial function in coordinating planning and programme implementation with other UN agencies, especially with UNICEF and WHO, as well as with the MOPH with an overarching goal of reaching out to the most vulnerable refugees with essential health care in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.

The incumbent will have direct supervisory responsibility for a team of two staff and responsible for the overall supervision of the Public Health Unit. He/she will provide functional guidance in Public Health to the team as well as to the Public Health teams in the field offices. He/she will provide technical advice to the Heads of Offices on matters related to public health.

The Senior Public Health Officer will work in close collaboration with the Public Health Coordinator, Protection and Programme Units.


FUNCTIONAL STATEMENT
Accountability
- There is a viable standard Health Information System in place for data collection, analysis and interpretation to serve as evidence base for planning and interventions.
- Health access surveys and nutritional assessments are adequately conducted and implemented.
- Immediate response and guidance is provided to refugee health and related concerns.

Responsibility
2.2 FUNCTIONAL STATEMENT. Describe the accountabilities, responsibilities and authorities associated with the position.

Accountability

- There is a viable standard Health Information System in place for data collection, analysis and interpretation to serve as evidence base for planning and interventions.
- Health access surveys and nutritional assessments are adequately conducted and implemented.
- Immediate response and guidance is provided to refugee health and related concerns.

Responsibility

A. Coordination and Strategy:
- Together with the Public Health Coordinator, facilitate coordination of health and nutrition response with actors, so that planning and implementation of public health and nutrition programmes is streamlined, resources are optimally utilized and there is active participation of the government and partners including refugees and UN agencies. Effective coordination will identify gaps and overlaps in programming, address unmet needs, and orient response to address priority public health issues.
- Work in a multi-sectoral and co-ordinated approach in co-operation with government, UN agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other humanitarian partners.
- Work with stakeholders, including UN agencies, NGO¿s, Ministries of Health and academic institutions for development of disease control plans associated with refugee movements (including in repatriation programmes).
- Take a lead role in co-ordinating Health and Nutrition activities and ensure that decisions are implemented as agreed upon.
- Work closely with UNHCR programme, field and protection staff to identify priority health issues and key data requirements for programme planning and monitoring to ensure that minimum UNHCR and international standards are being met. 
- Update and disseminate standard practices on public health, nutrition, HIV and reproductive health among partners.
- Represent UNHCR in relevant national fora concerning refugee health and nutrition.
- Support the prioritization of the Primary Health Care strategy focusing on preventive and basic curative health, including mental health, reproductive health, HIV and nutritional components.
- Support the management of a strong referral care system for secondary and tertiary health care, including being a member of the Exceptional Care Committee.
- Support health focal points to participate in the review and analysis of relevant project proposals and budgetary submissions presented by UNHCR partners within the context of the UNHCR programming cycle.
- Ensure that project plans or proposals submitted to UNHCR for funding adhere to internationally accepted standards, and are based on a comprehensive PHC strategy.

B. Technical Assistance:
- Provide technical assistance in needs and resources assessments together with the government and partners in order to prioritise needs and activities in the provision of services to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR.
- Emphasise prevention and treatment of diseases with heaviest burden and promotion of comprehensive reproductive health programmes.
- Ensure, in close co-ordination with other humanitarian actors, that health care services provided to refuges are based on Ministry of Health, UNHCR and/or internationally recognized and most up-to-date standards and policies.
- Establish and/or adapt UNHCR internal guidelines and procedures to streamline inputs and improve efficiency of the programme activities.
- Maintain and update contingency plans for potential epidemics, refugee and returnee movements.

C. Monitoring
- Ensure implementation of the UNHCR Health Information System and support the analysis of public health data.
- Ensure the monitoring of health and nutrition programmes against standard UNHCR and international indicators, to ensure that programmes are evidence-based and implemented in a comprehensive and cost-effective manner.
- Support the nutritional survey and other nutritional surveys.
- Active involvement in all aspects of programme monitoring with a main emphasis on checking levels of implementation and impact vis-à-vis resource inputs to measure cost-effectiveness and re-orient the programme as appropriate.
- Promote applied research and programme evaluation to enable the identification of gaps in programme implementation and standards, and to further promote evidence-based activities and guidance.
- Monitor technical aspects of the health and nutrition programme with emphasis on:
- Organization and use of UNHCR¿s Health System in order to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.
- Application of standard guidelines and protocols.
- Comprehensiveness of health and nutrition programme.
- Apply various mechanisms and tools to ensure proper monitoring including:
- Regular meetings, in accordance with UNHCR programming cycle.
- Regular flow of information (reporting).
- Conventional/non-conventional surveys and evaluation studies.
- Meeting with health implementing partners.
- Providing technical support and guidance to implementing/operational partners where required.
- Data analysis and interpretation.

D. Capacity Building:
- Ensure the capacity of UNHCR and its implementing partners to address public health, nutrition, reproductive health and HIV programming in a co-ordinated, multi-sectoral way by:
- Support focal points to develop a training plan, organise, and act as resource person in workshops and training both in-service (formal) and on the job (mentoring).
- Share with local and international partners on the ground relevant guidelines and information materials on refugee HIV, reproductive health, general health, and nutrition.
- Support health focal points to promote the establishment of Refugee Committees to enable refugees actively participate in the process of health planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

E. Advocacy:
- Work with others in UNHCR to advocate for refugees, returnees and other persons of concern access to local public health, reproductive health (RH) and HIV/AIDS services and lobby for inclusion of refugees, returnees and other persons of concern as a specific group in government policies related to health, RH and HIV/AIDS.
- Promote information sharing on all aspects related to refugees and persons of concern to UNHCR and the UNHCR role in advocacy for the welfare and rights of refugees and persons of concern to UNHCR.
- Ensure regular update and share information within UNHCR as well as with the government, UN and NGO partners and donor communities on the health status and needs of the refugees.

Authority
- Provide guidance and make recommendations on the overall strategy and focus of Public Health and Nutrition programmes.
- Represent UNHCR in Health Coordination and other meetings.

ESSENTIAL MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
- Graduate (Equivalent of Master's) degree in medicine or nursing with a Masters-level qualifications in public health.
- Training / experience in nutrition; infectious diseases/community medicine/anthropology/other relevant skills an advantage.
- Minimum 8 years of previous job experience relevant to the function and in national/multinational organizations.
- good inter-personal, communication, coordination and negotiations skills.
- skills in data analysis and interpretation including support to periodic surveys, studies, assessments and evaluations related to public health .
- Excellent knowledge of English language.

DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS & COMPETENCIES
- Experience working with progressively higher levels of responsibility with international organisations, (including NGOs and UN) in the field of health, HIV, reproductive health and nutrition.
- Practical working experience in refugee settings including out of camp settings.
- Experience with health financing is an asset.
- Proven experience in managing and overseeing health, reproductive health, nutrition and HIV programmes in humanitarian and development contexts.
- Knowledge of Arabic language. C001L3 - Accountability Level 3
C002L3 - Teamwork & Collaboration Level 3
C003L3 - Communication Level 3
C004L3 - Commitment to Continuous Learning Level 3
C005L3 - Client & Result Orientation Level 3
C006L3 - Organizational Awareness Level 3
M001L3 - Empowering and Building Trust Level 3
M002L3 - Managing Performance Level 3
M006L3 - Managing Resources Level 3
M005L3 - Leadership Level 3
M003L3 - Judgement and Decision Making Level 3
M004L3 - Strategic Planning and Vision Level 3
X005L3 - Planning and Organizing Level 3
X001L3 - Analytical Thinking Level 3
X008L3 - Stakeholder Management Level 3

Before applying to this position, we strongly encourage colleagues to read the country specific FAQs information leaflets which can be found  on the Intranet under Staff Resources > Duty of Care. The information leaflets are specifically designed to answer some of the key questions potential applicants might have before deciding to apply. 

In Lebanon, over one million Syrian refugees live in over 2,100 locations scattered in various accommodation types all over the country, making it difficult to target them with essential services. Ensuring adequate protection, and finding durable solutions for the approximately 20,000 refugees of other nationalities (mainly from Iraq) is similarly difficult.
The displacement of refugees into Lebanon occurs in the context of inadequate human and financial resources by national institutions.  The health care system in the country is largely privatized and of high cost. It is characterized by a dominant private sector working on a fee for service basis. Health services are purchased by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH). Primary and secondary health care for refugees is provided via the network of contracted/owned heath care centres and contracted hospitals certified by the MOPH. The Lebanese government together with UN agencies, NGOs and donors are facing the dual challenge of promoting access to health services for both vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugees.  Sustainability of meeting health care needs of refugees funded by voluntary humanitarian contributions remains of a great concern. Indeed, Syrian refugees¿ response in Lebanon is now into its seventh year and it has reached an important junction towards sustainability and cost-efficiency, and hence it is imperative that it be aligned with changing needs and operational capacities, building on strengths of major actors and opportunities in the operation context of the country. The Senior Public Health Officer will ensure that UNHCR's health programmes meet minimum international UNHCR and international health standards; the incumbent plays a crucial role in assessment, programme coordination, planning, implementation and monitoring including data analysis and evaluation, capacity building of UNHCR personnel and partners, and advocacy, information and communication on public health-related issues. Furthermore, the incumbent plays a crucial function in coordinating planning and programme implementation with other UN agencies, especially with UNICEF and WHO, as well as with the MOPH with an overarching goal of reaching out to the most vulnerable refugees with essential health care in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. There are currently more than one million Syrian refugees registered with UNHCR in Lebanon, which makes Lebanon the highest refugee-hosting country per capita in the world. There are no approved camps in the country, and refugees are living in more than 1,700 locations across the country. The refugee response is led by the Government and local actors, supported by the international community. As the designated lead agency in the refugee response, UNHCR has established a sector-based structure in Beirut and in the field. The structure brings together over 100 UN agencies, national and international NGO partners in identifying and agreeing on the strategic priorities to address the needs of Syrian refugees and other affected populations. The Lebanon national response falls under the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), whereby UNHCR guides the refugee response and UNDP facilitates the resilience and stabilization component.

The UNHCR operational response in Lebanon is the largest for the organization, with a total budget of over USD 534 million for 2017. Media attention and the frequency of influential high-profile visitors is high. The Office currently has some 730 staff located in Beirut, Zahle, Tripoli, Tyre, and Qobayat. Beirut is a classified as "B" family duty station with average education, health (private) and recreational facilities. Category B. Security Level: Moderate. The duty station is featured with volatile and fluent security situation, frequent cases of civil unrest and occasional armed clashes in certain areas, usually quickly contained by security forces. Proliferation of weapons among local civilians is widespread. Beirut South Suburbs is an area of elevated threat and is not recommended for regular UN activities. No formal curfew in Beirut, however, UN International staff are not advised to move alone on foot after darkness. Restrictions for use of private taxis and public transport are in place. Only a few vetted taxi companies are recommended for UN International staff. Criminality rate decreased slightly recently. Beirut was affected by armed conflict with Israel in 2006. Main UN office (ESCWA) was attacked and looted by a violent mob in 2006. All UN staff is advised to remain vigilant at all times. Ideally candidate should have:
- proven experience in managing and overseeing public health programmes in humanitarian and development contexts;
- good inter-personal, communication, coordination and negotiations skills;
- skills in data analysis and interpretation including support to periodic surveys, studies, assessments and evaluations related to public health ;
- experience with health financing is an asset;
- proven project management skills.

Please note that the closing date for all vacancies in the September 2017 Compendium is Monday 6 November 2017 (midnight Geneva time).

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: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Beirut (Lebanon)
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Public Health and Health Service
  • Closing Date: 2017-11-30

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