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Technical Officer – Operational Readiness


  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Dakar
  • Grade: Mid level - P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
  • Closing Date: Closed


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 other emergencies, and to provide effective relief and recovery to affected populations.


In the context of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme and within the Emergency Preparedness Programme (EMP), the Technical Officer – Operational Readiness will serve as the principal focal point on operational readiness matters for the East and Southern African countries. The incumbent will ensure that at-risk and affected countries by health emergencies have an optimal level of readiness in regard to the key functions of the WHO incident management system and the priority interventions. The incumbent will work with the AFRO and HQ to develop and use tools for operational readiness assessment at country level (national and sub-national levels) and set up a monitoring system for countries’ readiness for emergencies based on the country risk profiles, with roadmaps to fill the gaps. The incumbent will be involved in capacity building on member states to enhance operational readiness where necessary.


To enhance the level of operational readiness for effective management of public health emergencies, the incumbent will undertake the following duties:

  1. Support the effective implementation of WHO strategies for enhancing country operational readiness for public health emergencies in the West and Central Africa Member States.
  2. Contribute to the development or updating of tools for country operational readiness assessment and for development of roadmaps for countries’ activities toward operational readiness for the identified high priority risks.
  3. Provide technical support to countries to enhance early warning/surveillance for timely detection and response to disease outbreaks and ongoing emergencies
  4. Support countries to assess risks and develop contingency plans for major public health threats and business continuity plans to address threats to the functionality of WCO offices during emergencies.
  5. Ensure all relevant guidelines, protocols, tools, and standard operating procedures for operational readiness at country level are updated in line with the latest WHO guidance, and actively promote and monitor their proper implementation through the relevant partners and stakeholders.
  6. Establish a baseline of operational readiness on the critical functions of the IMS (Leadership, partner coordination, information and planning, specific technical expertise, operations support and logistics, finance and administration) in countries at risk of public health and major humanitarian emergencies in the East and Southern Africa sub-region.
  7. Support countries in assessing operational readiness in implementing the Incident Management system in response to crises through simulation exercises and strengthening their readiness by addressing gaps identified
  8. To facilitate cross border engagement, cross border mechanisms and collaboration and communication between national authorities and partners in the WCA countries
  9. Provide analysis of public health risks, needs and capacities, and advise on priority interventions for effective operations for WHO and partners in the context of acute and protracted emergencies.
  10. Mobilize and coordinate the relevant partners to ensure collective and effective readiness under the critical functions of the IMS in the member states in East and Southern Africa
  11. Seek opportunities to expand and strengthen existing partnerships on operational readiness, especially through the development of new partnerships at the Hub level.
  12. Strengthen country level and sub-regional leadership, coordination and accountability for contingency planning, preparedness and response planning in the countries.
  13. Document lessons learnt at field level to enable countries improve their operational readiness for public health emergencies
  14. Perform other related duties as assigned, including surge to countries during emergencies or backstopping for other EPR colleagues in the Hub and at regional office as required.



Essential: An advanced University degree (Master’s level or above) in epidemiology, statistics, or public health from an accredited/recognized institute.

Desirable: Qualifications or studies in emergency management; Organizational Development and/or Change management in humanitarian context


Essential: A minimum of 7 years' experience in alert and response to emergencies at the national and international levels and readiness assessment, complemented by sound experience with working and negotiating with different organizations in complex environments.

Desirable: Experience in WHO and/or the UN System in the areas of outbreak response and/or humanitarian interventions.


  • Demonstrated knowledge of key critical functions of the WHO Emergency Response Framework.
  • Demonstrated sound knowledge of the landscape and dynamics of health emergencies in the African region.
  • Demonstrated sound understanding of the interests and dynamics of partners involved in the readiness and management of health emergencies in the African region.
  • Capacity to conceptualize, organize and critically analyze situations and solve problems.
  • Sound organizational and planning skills complemented by ability to multi-task and produce results under pressure within short deadlines.
  • Excellent communication and negotiation skills.
  • Diplomacy, tact and courtesy.

WHO Competencies

  • Teamwork
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
  • Communication
  • Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond
  • Producing results

Language Skills

Essential: Excellent knowledge of French

Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of English

The above language requirement are interchangeable


WHO offers staff in the Professional Category an attractive remuneration package, which for the above position includes an annual net base salary starting at 75,602 US Dollars (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.
  • 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.
  • For WHO General Service staff who do not meet the minimum educational qualifications, please see e-Manual III.4.1, para 220.
This vacancy is now closed.
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