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Unit Chief, Health Services and Access

Washington D.C.

  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Washington D.C.
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2022-08-08


This requisition is for employment at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO)

The primary objective of the Department of Health Systems and Services (HSS) is to strengthen health systems based on Primary Health Care, supporting progress towards universal health coverage and universal access to health. Its work encompasses the following areas: strengthening of health systems governance and stewardship; strengthening of regulatory frameworks for medicines and health technologies, and developing efficient and equitable financial mechanisms to ensure adequate public funding of the health system and proper financial protection for progressive realization of the right to health; organizing people-centered, integrated health service delivery; promoting access to and rational use of quality, safe, and effective health technologies; strengthening national health research systems, and promoting the integration of scientific knowledge into health care, health policies, and technical cooperation; and developing human resources for health.


Under the general supervision of the Assistant Director (AD), and the direct supervision of the Director, Health Systems and Services (HSS), the incumbent is responsible for, but not necessarily limited to, the following assigned duties:

  1. Provide technical, policy and strategic advice and programmatic direction for the development of technical cooperation strategies to promote the achievement of Universal Access to Health and Universal Health Coverage (Universal Health) with particular focus on health policies and planning, health financing, health information and information systems, health services organization, quality of care and patient safety, research in health, and primary health care strategies;
  2. Advise and lead the work of the Unit in planning, implementing, monitoring and resourcing work plans, consistent with country needs and the Organization’s overall Strategic Plan; coordinate and integrate delivery of technical support to country offices in the development of national roadmaps towards the achievement of Universal Health;
  3. Plan and guide the development, implementation and monitoring of the Organization’s mandates in health services and access, in coordination with internal offices and other partners, including inter-programmatic strategies to promote Universal Health;
  4. Provide leadership to countries in health systems transformation towards Universal Health, to expand access to comprehensive, integrated and quality health services throughout the life course, increasing public financing and financial protection in health, strengthening health leadership, governance and stewardship of the health system and health sector;
  5. Advocate, support and lead organizational efforts to strengthen health systems based on Primary Health Care, the provision of comprehensive and integrated health services at the first level of care, increasing financing for primary care, and the integration of the first level of care within health service delivery networks. Lead institutional strategies to increase the engagement of the community in addressing health needs at the community level through the Primary Health Care approach;
  6. Strengthen the implementation of PAHO and WHO mandates and policies to improve quality of care, through a health systems approach, including improving patient safety; lead the development of partnerships throughout the Region to strengthen quality assessment, monitoring and evaluation to improve health outcomes;
  7. Coordinate actions to improve governance in health, stewardship of the health sector and health system, research for health and social innovation in health, health policy and planning, and the development of capacities to improve the Essential Public Health Functions. Promote increased linkages between health and the economy, labor, education and finance, with a view to strengthening the leadership capacity of the health sector and addressing the social determinants of health;
  8. Lead organizational efforts to increase public financing in health, the regulation of public and private financing, increased allocations at the national level for Primary Health Care, increased financial and social protection in health, and the progressive elimination of out-of-pocket payments at the point of service. Develop and strengthen partnerships with International Financing Institutions (IFIs) to direct and allocate an increased level of investment in health throughout the Region;
  9. Oversee the generation of health systems data to support policy development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 3.8, the monitoring of advances towards the achievement of Universal Health, access barriers to health, and other critical data on health service delivery, health financing and health systems performance;
  10. Collaborate in the Organization's response to emergency situations; provide technical expertise in order to facilitate timely response as required;
  11. Develop and strengthen partnerships with United Nations (UN) agencies, collaborating centers, donors and civil society organizations to support the achievement of Universal Health in the Americas; coordinate with WHO in leadership areas of governance, health services and financing, including Primary Health Care.
  12. Coordinate the preparation of project profiles and proposals to mobilize resources within the programmatic approach for the Unit, and stimulate the mobilization of national and international resources to support country efforts in these areas;
  13. Administer, allocate and monitor the Unit’s financial, logistical and staff resources; prepare, and justify the Unit’s program and budget proposals; plan and organize the formulation, development, implementation and control of systems to monitor performance in accordance with the results-based management approach;
  14. Promote a culture of ethical behavior and integrity in accordance with the Organization’s Code of Ethical Principles and Conduct in order to ensure a culture of respect, responsibility, accountability, and compliance;
  15. Perform other related duties, as assigned.



Essential: A university degree in a health or social science, and a master’s degree in public health, or in any other discipline related to the functions of the post from an accredited institution.

Desirable: Specialization in health systems and services would be an asset.

In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO, only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: PAHO will also use the databases of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and College Navigator, found on the website of the National Centre for Educational Statistics, to support the validation process.


Essential: Thirteen years of combined national and international experience in health policy development and implementation, health services organization, and/or health financing. Experience in the preparation and implementation of health development projects preferably in an international organization, including resource mobilization and management.


PAHO Competencies:

  • Overall attitude at work: Maintains integrity and takes a clear ethical approach and stance; demonstrates commitment to the Organization’s mandate and promotes the values of the Organization in daily work and behavior; is accountable for work carried out in line with own role and responsibilities; is respectful towards, and trusted by, colleagues and counterparts.
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences: Relates well to diversity in others and capitalizes on such diversity - Treats all people with dignity and respect. Relates well to people with different cultures, gender, orientations, backgrounds and/or positions; examines own behavior to avoid stereotypical responses; considers issues from the perspective of others and values their diversity.
  • Teamwork: Advocates for collaboration across the Organization - Creates and encourages a climate of team- working and collaboration across the Organization; sees cooperation as a key Organizational priority and creates collaborative systems and processes to achieve Organizational goals. Actively identifies and tackles disagreements between internal and external counterparts that compromise the Organization’s goals and mandate; diplomatically facilitates the resolution of conflicts between others and ensures strategic partnerships with a range of key stakeholders; maintains and extends an effective collaborative network of individuals inside and outside the Organization.
  • Communication: Share knowledge - Shares decisions and directives of senior management and communicates them in a manner that ensures both understanding and acceptance; shares knowledge and best practice at the three Organizational levels (country, regional and global), as necessary.
  • Creating an empowering and motivating environment: Provide direction/Support, motivate and empower others - Oversees and provides teams and departments with clear managerial directions which are translated from Organizational strategy. Builds a performance culture in the Organization; contributes to setting Organizational performance goals and standards; monitors Organizational performance against milestones and strategic goals; identifies and nurtures talent as appropriate.
  • Ensuring effective use of resources: Strategize and set clear objectives/Monitor progress and use resources well - Sets specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely objectives for own team and/or the Organization; systematically analyses and anticipates priority projects for own team and allocates necessary resources to achieve them; identifies the cross-Organizational resources needed for large- scale projects in line with key Organizational objectives.
  • Driving the Organization to a successful future: Constructive leadership style/ Set the vision and build commitment - Leads and develops a road map for successfully achieving real progress in the Organization’s mandate, including consultation with key stakeholders; demonstrates respectful, trustworthy, transparent and accountable behavior in order to develop a reliable and coherent identity for the Organization. Creates a coherent Organizational vision of shared and successful goals; fosters a culture of vision and long- term goals, recognizing and rewarding efforts to maximize the Organization’s value.

Technical Expertise:

  • Technical: Extensive progressive expertise at a senior level in health policy and managing complex health programs/health systems that address equity at both national and international levels. Wide and varied knowledge of the application of gender and cultural diversity approaches to public health problems and health management processes. Ability to provide authoritative technical advice and contributions.
  • Managerial: Extensive expertise in senior, progressively responsible positions in the management of a large public or private programs including administrative and technical matters requiring sensitive negotiation and high-level interventions. Demonstrated ability to provide professional leadership in strategic, organizational, managerial and analytic aspects of health; resourcefulness, initiative, highly developed judgment and interpersonal skills required to deal with difficult situations, and sensitive issues. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with people of different professional levels, disciplines, nationalities, and cultural background.
  • Administrative: Skills in resource mobilization (including fundraising and partner collaboration) and financial management for the delivery of expected results.


Very good knowledge of English or Spanish with a working knowledge of the other language. Knowledge of French and/or Portuguese would be an asset.

IT Skills:

Demonstrated ability to effectively use current technology and software, spreadsheets and presentations, as well as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and management information systems. Other IT skills and knowledge of software programs such as Microsoft Excel, Outlook, OneDrive, PowerPoint, Teams, SharePoint, and Word are considered essential.


Annual Salary: (Net of taxes)

USD $90,664.00 post adjustment

Post Adjustment: 54.1% of the above figure(s). This percentage is to be considered as indicative since variations may occur each month either upwards or downwards due to currency exchange rate fluctuations or inflation.


This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level.

Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to PAHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and e-Manual.

For information on PAHO please visit:

PAHO/WHO is an ethical organization that maintains high standards of integrity and accountability. People joining PAHO are required to maintain these standards both in their professional work and personal activities.

PAHO/WHO also promotes a work environment that is free from harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, and other types of abusive behavior. PAHO conducts background checks and will not hire anyone who has a substantiated history of abusive conduct.

PAHO/WHO personnel interact frequently with people in the communities we serve. To protect these people, PAHO has zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse. People who commit serious wrongdoing will be terminated and may also face criminal prosecution.

PAHO/WHO is committed to workforce diversity. PAHO/WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.

PAHO/WHO offers an attractive compensation package including an annual net salary and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance). Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme. Benefits for internationally recruited staff may include home leave, travel and removal expenses on appointment and separation, education grant for dependent children, assignment grant and rental subsidy.

Candidates appointed to an international post with PAHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.

All applicants are required to complete an on-line profile to be considered for this post.

Candidates will be contacted only if they are under serious consideration. A written test and/or interview will be held for this post. The post description is the official documentation for organization purposes.

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.