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WHO JPO - Technical Officer, Health Policy

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: P-2, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: 2020-12-20

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Health system governance, policy and aid effectiveness (HGS) unit in the Health systems Governance and Financing (HGF) Department (UHC Life Course Division).

Objective of the WHO Programme/Department:

The HGF department of the World Health Organization (WHO) is an interdisciplinary department composed of international experts in various fields such as health economics, public health, health governance and health laws. The department of HGF emphasizes Health System Strengthening as the principal means — a series of approaches and tools, of policies and actions —required to reach the goals of UHC and the SDGs. Health systems must deliver on health outcomes and wellbeing of the populations they serve including the most marginalized. Health systems must also be prepared and competent to guarantee the health security of the population and the resilience of societies.

The HGF department has been instrumental in the push to make UHC and its translation into the General Programme of Work of the WHO (GPW 13). To make it a reality at country level, the Department is supporting 115 countries in delivering UHC policy orientation and streamlining efforts to make progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) through the Universal Health Coverage Partnership (UHC-P - see

The department’s ability to address these increasingly complex issues lies in its internal capacity to break through the pyramidal organisational chart and allow for fostered dialogue between colleagues from different fields, across the hierarchical lines and between the 3 levels of the Organization. The department has thus opted for an internal organization into thematic groups (internally called @theams) which gathers experts from different branches and different levels of the department organisational chart. Breaking through the hierarchical lines is considered a prerequisite to innovations and is aimed to facilitate the conduct of frontier work within the department. The establishment of these thematic groups is the fruit of a collective effort and a collaborative process: it has paved the way to share a forward-looking vision with associated work-plans, collaborative agendas, etc. The @theams HGS staff are involved in cover mainly the following topics: strategic planning, citizen’s voice, institutions and regulations, knowledge management and country situation analysis.

This work will foster the capacity of the JPO and of the whole unit/@theams to address the challenges of better preparedness, and policy orientations linked to the management of the crisis in the UHC-P countries.


The first level supervisor will be the Coordinator of the Joint Working Team.

Learning and Training:




Learning Objective


Training Components





Have a good understanding of policy and planning challenges in the realm of UHC, health system strengthening and health security challenges at country level

Team work, weekly team meeting, mentoring, personal capacity development (courses, lunch time seminars, inter-country meetings, etc.)

1st and 2nd year



Practical expertise in the area of policy formulation, planning elaboration and effectiveness of development cooperation

Field work, supervision and mentorship

2nd and 3rd year

The progress towards achieving the objectives will be evaluated annually by the JPO together with the first and second level supervisors.  Achievement will be against WHO's Performance Management and Development System (PMDS).


Duties and Responsibilities

The Junior Professional Officer (JPO) will be part of the Health systems Governance and Financing (HGS) unit and will take part in its activities. During his/her assignment, the JPO will contribute to the major endeavour of the unit which is the running and management of the Universal Health Coverage Partnership (UHC-P), that covers 115 countries in 6 WHO regions. This Partnership will be pivotal for the JPO in terms of capacity building and practice related (1) to policy elaboration and implementation; (2) to actionable governance related work; and (3) to support planning and coordination of all involved actors at country level. The JPO will be posted in year 2 and 3 in a country office, selected if possible, in the group of countries that are supported by the UHC-P. The selection of the country will be made in full agreement with the relevant Regional Office.

Duties, Responsibilities and Output expectations

The main tasks will be:

  • Following up on activities as per country support plans and workplans and day-to-day work related to the UHC-P, especially considering the emerging needs in terms of health security.
  • Contributing to the documentation of the Partnership’s activities and achievements.
  • Providing technical support to countries (backstopping as needed).
  • Contributing to the UHC Partnership’s programme of research by helping, for example, to conduct analyses, interpret results and draft manuscripts.
  • Supporting advocacy for UHC Partnership work by drafting advocacy booklets, help maintain the web site and manage its content, contribute to revamping the web site image.
  • Contributing to defining the technical content and facilitating UHC-P annual meetings and inter-country gatherings.

At the end of the assignment, the JPO will have contributed to the normative work related to health system strengthening in the frame of UHC, contributed to the demonstration of activities and results achieved, especially in the UHC-P supported countries, and will have gain understanding and practical knowledge of the major factors shaping the international health agenda at global and country level.


WHO competencies required for the assignment:

  1. Technical Expertise
  2. Teamwork
  3. Communication
  4. Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences

Skills required for the assignment:

Good team player and able to adapt easily to the workload, which may vary and will be keen to engage with Regional Offices and /or countries when needed.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Minimum - Advanced university degree in a health-related field (for example, medicine or public health) or related area (political science, social science, economics) with a special focus on health-related topics.
  • Desirable - Knowledge of health policy and planning, health financing, or health systems development.

Work experience:

  • Minimum - At least two years’ experience in the area of public health, health systems, health policy, or any related area.
  • Desirable - Knowledge of lower- and middle-income countries (health sector challenges, socio economic and political environment) is an asset.

Language requirements:

  • Minimum - Fluency in English and working knowledge of French or vice versa.
  • Desirable - Knowledge of Portuguese is an asset.

Age and nationality of candidate:

  • The JPO and SDP are country-sponsored programmes and as such this specific position is open only to nationals of Belgium.  
  • the candidate should not be older than 32 years of age as of 31 December 2020.

For further details about the JPO programme, please visit



Important information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders)

Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. 

UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

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