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Senior Health Emergency Officer - Dakar, Senegal - Nairobi, Kenya and Cape Town, South Africa

Multiple locations

  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Multiple locations
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Medical Practitioners
    • Humanitarian Aid and Coordination
    • Emergency Aid and Response
  • Closing Date: 2022-08-23


The mission of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme (The Programme) is to build the capacity of Member States to manage health emergency risks and, when national capacities are overwhelmed, to lead and coordinate the international health response to contain outbreaks and to provide effective relief and recovery to affected populations. The Emergency Operations Unit of the Health Emergencies Programme is responsible for ensuring that emergency-affected populations have access to timely and effective health services. This includes ensuring a strong emergency management system (based on incident management), effective and inclusive coordination mechanisms, joint assessments and planning by partners, implementation of operations and services according to agreed standards, and the expansion and strengthening of operational partnerships. EMO also leads on humanitarian policy and guidance, as well as representation to key interagency bodies.


In the context of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, at regional level, the incumbent will have overall responsibility in planning, management, adaptation and implementation of strategies and work plans for public health emergencies in the region particularly affecting countries in the sub region of assignment, including deciding on the ordering and the release of resources.

The incumbent will be the overall WHO emergency response focal point at sub regional level and in this role support the WCOs, Ministries of Health, and Partners to strengthen response capacities through a multi-hazard, multisectoral approach which is aligned to international frameworks including IHR, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) guidance and protocols. The incumbent will be deployed to emergency operations when required.


The incumbent will be required to perform all or part of the following duties:

1. To provide leadership in operations support to Member States to strengthen their capacities for timely and effective outbreaks and emergencies response in the context of the International Health Regulations, including early warning alert and response systems.

2. To initiate support and collaboration with Member States to develop integrated approaches for readiness and acute response to major epidemic-prone diseases (e.g., Ebola, meningitis, viral hemorrhagic fevers, cholera, rift valley fever, etc.) and other emergencies using the all-hazard approach.

3. To proactively advise and ensure participation in the development and further strengthening of an effective regional system for coordinated response to public health events of international concern.

4. Provide technical guidance through the WCOs to the Ministry of Health (MoH) and partners on the establishment/strengthening of an Emergency Management System /Emergency Operation Centre (IMS/EOC) for multi-sectoral emergency management that includes staffing, defined roles/responsibilities and resources for key functional areas.

5. Participate in reviewing/developing legal frameworks, policies and strategies to ensure integration of IHR and creation of a favourable legal and policy environment for disaster risk management, emergency preparedness and response

6. Through the WHO countries offices emergency programmes, and in collaboration with the other units under EPR, support countries to:

  • Conduct rapid risk assessments or public health situation analysis for potential public health emergencies, organize grading calls, documents evidences and lead on the establishment of IMS at country and regional level.
  • Ensure the appropriate IMS structure is in place and provide guidance on setting up an effective response to the public health emergencies in the sub region
  • Support regular assessment of health needs of affected populations in cooperation with technical units at WCO, RO and HQ level. Organize Joint Operation Reviews or Intra Action Reviews where appropriate
  • Assess national capacities for emergency management, including preparedness, and support the development of a national Health Emergency Response Plan.
  • Review the National Health Plan/National Health Emergency Response Plan as needed (when these already exist), take additional action, including the development of contingency plans for specific high priority risks.
  • Mobilize and coordinate resources, oversee the operational and strategic planning of the health response plans, identify resource needs and funding gaps; encourage donors to fund the overall health sector response to affected populations.

7. To facilitate the support and mobilization of resources to Member States for timely detection and response to epidemic-prone diseases and other public health emergencies of international concern before and during an acute emergency.

8. To closely collaborate with and lead the strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation of the EPR cluster by initiating the elaboration and regular revision of the EMR unit's strategic plan and the overall monitoring and review of progress with respect to the Cluster's objectives.

9. In cooperation with other levels of the response, validate the related information, communications, advocacy products and statements before release to internal and external partners as well as to the public.

10. To initiate, develop and/or strengthen strategic partnerships, including drafting proposals, to increase financial, material and human resources to further EPR work at all levels.

11. Identify WHO response team staffing needs, coordinate the mobilization of the required human resources. Provide guidance, and performance management of staff and experts, take concrete measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all WHO responders.

12. Monitor WHO’s health response and operational readiness activities, and adjust if new needs arise and/or the situation changes requiring a revision of the operational plan.

13. To closely collaborate with the focal point on the strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation of the EPR cluster by leading the unit’s planning, implementation, monitoring and review of EPR objectives and outputs and initiating regular revisions of the Cluster's strategic plan.

14. To perform other related responsibilities as assigned, including replacing and backstopping for others as required.



Essential: Advanced university degree (Masters level or above) in a health field or Medical degree.

Desirable: Specialized training in epidemiology. Specialized training in emergency/humanitarian response. Post-graduate degree in public health or public health-related discipline from an accredited/recognized institute.


Essential: At least 10 (ten) years of international and national professional experience in planning, developing and implementing health security, emergency, surveillance, disease control, and/or public health programmes. Relevant experience with the inter-agency mechanisms used to coordinate international preparedness for and response to health emergencies, including those most relevant to coordination of health policy and action in health emergencies. Relevant experience in the implementation of International Health Regulations (2005).

Desirable: Relevant work experience in WHO, other UN agencies; experience working in relevant non-governmental or humanitarian organizations. Experience in developing countries.


  • Demonstrated knowledge of the rapid response operations and their implementation in emergencies as related to public health, complemented by demonstrated ability to identify and manage difficult situations, to lead and direct multidisciplinary and multinational staff.
  • Excellent skills in the assessment, monitoring, analysis and evaluation of emergency situations, with the ability to conceptualize and implement innovative strategies and advocate their implementation.
  • Authoritative and comprehensive knowledge of the theory, principles, methods and techniques in international emergency incident management system.
  • Strong strategic thinking, with the ability to quickly comprehend strategic and tactical objectives and to formulate comprehensive plans to address challenges/risks. Thorough knowledge of International Health Regulations (2005), the epidemiology of infectious diseases and other global health security threats, and of issues and practices for disease prevention and control.
  • Proven ability to coordinate and manage projects, build partnerships with multiple partners in the context of health emergencies.
  • Sound tactical thinking with the ability to formulate clear comprehensive strategies and plans. Demonstrated organizational skills with the ability to multi-task and produce results under pressure.

WHO Competencies

  • Teamwork
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
  • Communication
  • Ensuring the effective use of resources
  • Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond

Use of Language Skills:

Essential: Expert knowledge of English
Working knowledge of French or another WHO language would be an asset


WHO offers staff in the Professional Category an attractive remuneration package, which for the above position includes an annual net base salary starting at 90.664 USD (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable).

Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.


  • This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level
  • Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
  • A written test may be used as a form of screening.
  • 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: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
  • Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual
  • Staff members in other duty stations are encouraged to apply
  • For information on WHO's operations please visit:
  • WHO is committed to workforce diversity
  • WHO prides itself on a workforce that adheres to the highest ethical and professional standards and that is committed to put the WHO Values Charter into practice.
  • WHO has zero tolerance towards sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), sexual harassment and other types of abusive conduct (i.e., discrimination, abuse of authority and harassment). All members of the WHO workforce have a role to play in promoting a safe and respectful workplace and should report to WHO any actual or suspected cases of SEA, sexual harassment, and other types of abusive conduct. To ensure that individuals with a substantiated history of SEA, sexual harassment or other types of abusive conduct are not hired by the Organization, WHO will conduct a background
  • Verification of final candidates.
  • WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
  • WHO has a mobility policy which can be found at the following link: Candidates appointed to an international post with WHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.
  • Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Member States are particularly encouraged.
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.