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Maternal, Neonatal, Child Health and Nutrition Consultant

Belgrade (Serbia)

UNICEF Serbia is looking for a qualified Serbian-speaking consultant to support UNICEF in assisting the health system to secure improvement of the access and quality of Maternal, Neonatal, Child Health and Nutrition services and programmes, particularly for the most vulnerable families and support the improvement of health-related practices among children and their parents/caregivers, with the focus on the most vulnerable populations.

Purpose of the assignment:

Improving maternal, neonatal and child health and nutrition (MNCH&N) in Serbia, particularly for the most vulnerable and excluded populations, is one of priorities of the Programme of co-operation between UNICEF and the Government of Serbia.

Despite a reduction in child mortality rates at the national level, Serbia’s infant mortality rate of little less than 6 remains above the EU-27 average of 4. Data from Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) in 2005, 2010 and 2014 reveal significantly higher rates of infant and under-5 mortality among Roma children, which remains two times higher than that of the general population. In addition, regional variations, particularly relating to neonatal and perinatal mortality persist over years. Ministry of Health (MoH) Expert group on child health indicated that many causes for disparities in perinatal mortality are to be found in the organization and coordination of local health services including inadequate transport. Some practices, from antenatal, delivery, to postnatal and child health care, need modernisation in order to be fully aligned with evidence-based culture and core principles of the quality of care standards such as rights-based, respectful, family-centred care.

Recent nutrition data among general and the most vulnerable populations call upon re-intensification of the work in this area. According to MICS data, obesity in young children is increasing and in 2014 every 5th child living in Roma settlements has been identified as stunted and only 30% with adequate nutrition habits. In addition, low breastfeeding rate with only 13% of children exclusively breastfed up to the 6 months of age has been persisting for years. Promotion of breastfeeding (including in maternity) and reinforcement of the Code for marketing breast milk substitutes are not yet widely supported.  

All these findings have influenced UNICEF programming in Serbia, and in partnership with Ministry of Health, various health institutions and civil society organisations, UNICEF has, in the previous few years, initiated projects that aim to strengthen maternal and neonatal services through health institutions’ accreditation processes, capacity building and policy related activities.

In 2019, UNICEF will continue to work on health system strengthening for greater results and sustainability. The future support is envisaged in the provision of coherent technical assistance and policy advice not only to secure evidence based policy development, but also by demonstrating mechanisms and implementation modalities at national, local and institutional levels in the area of MNCH&N. UNICEF has been and will continue to support development of enabling legal  framework, studies and researches for ensuring quality MNCH&N, improvement of data collection and management, implementation of quality standards of the health institutions and capacity building of health professionals, parents, local stakeholders. Any emergency situation (including one of refugee and migrant population) will be supported as per the UNICEF mandate.

The purpose of this assignment is to support UNICEF in assisting the health system to secure improvement of the access and quality of MNCH&N services and programmes, particularly for the most vulnerable families and support improvement of health-related practices among children and their parents/caregivers with the focus on the most vulnerable populations.

Work Assignment Overview:

The work will be delivered in accordance with the more detailed monthly work plans agreed between the Individual Contractor and the Supervisor at the beginning of every month. Monthly reports will be submitted at the end of each month. Each monthly report will include:
- Overview of activities realized / progress, and
- Outputs/draft documents as per the more detailed time-line agreed and as included under ‘deliverables’ for each specific task described below.

Task 1: Support to MNCH&N component of the programme implementation:
- Support development of project proposals with partners in the area of MNCH&N
- Support main UNICEF partners in the area of MNCH&N in respective project implementation (MoH, IPH, Agency for accreditation of health institutions, relevant health institutions – maternities, neonatal intensive care units, professional associations and other civil society organisations)
- Assist in progress monitoring, provide recommendations for improvement and further action to achieve sustainable results
- Support co-ordination and leveraging of UNICEF and MoH MNCH&N programme components with other developmental partners

Task 2: Support knowledge generation, knowledge exchange and evidence based policy advocacy to improve quality and access of the MNCH&N services and MNCH&N outcomes for the most vulnerable children and their families:
- Support partners in improving data collection and data management system in the relevant MNCH&N areas (inputs to methodological guides for data collection and analyses, technical inputs to the relevant by-laws, electronic data collection systems etc.)
- Provide technical input for development/review of relevant legislation and policies related to access and quality of MNCH&N
- Support development, implementation/finalization and presentation of the relevant research and situation analyses; support preparation of publications, briefs on research findings and relevant technical inputs for policy advocacy; support preparation of new research concept notes
- Support development/review of methodological guides for relevant MNCH&N professionals
- Organize knowledge exchange events and technical round tables in the area of MNCH&N (as per programme needs)
- Support the organization of different coordination and partnerships building meetings at national and local levels and strengthen/leverage existing governmental (national and local) and non-governmental initiatives and platforms to ensure commitment and engagement for MNCH&N
- Support regional knowledge and information exchange as per need

Task 3: Support MNCH&N behavior and social change and demand creating for access and quality of MNCH&N services:
- Facilitate provision of technical input for communication and education materials for parents (including the most vulnerable) and relevant professionals and support process of development, finalization and effective monitoring of distribution and utilization of the same
- Provide programmatic support to other related on-going UNICEF communication initiatives regarding MNCH&N activities (for face-book, UNICEF internet site, communication events etc.)
- Provide programmatic support to social mobilisation activities for MNCH&N at national and local levels, particularly mobilising mothers (and fathers) and mother’s groups, and other relevant community groups to facilitate behavioural and social change and ensure rights’ holders voices are being heard and are influencing policy and programme development. Using innovative approaches encouraged.

Task 4: Contribute to donor reporting

Task 5: Support implementation and monitoring of health and nutrition activities as part of emergency and/or emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction activities

Required qualifications:

- University degree in public health or medical fields related to maternal and child health,
- 5 years of professional work experience in planning, programming, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health-related programmes is required, preferably in the area of maternal and child health and nutrition,
- Experience in developing health regulations and policies,
- Technical expert capacity in maternal and child health and nutrition is preferred,
- Excellent knowledge of the health system in Serbia,
- Knowledge of child rights,
- Experience in working with vulnerable population, e.g. Roma, is an asset,
- Computer skills and literacy,
- Excellent English and Serbian skills, spoken and written,
- Experience in working with UN is an asset.

How to apply:

Your application must include a financial proposal as a separate document, containing the following information:

  • Daily rate in RSD (all costs to be included e.g. health insurance, pension, usage of mobile phone),
  • Daily allowance cost for travel within Serbia in RSD (for overnight, accommodation costs included),
  • Transportation cost per km in RSD (for travel within Serbia).

The closing date for applications is 25th January 2019

Important note: Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. 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.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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: Belgrade (Serbia)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
    • Sexual and reproductive health
    • Nutrition
  • Closing Date: 2019-01-25

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