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Health Specialist (Financing), P4, WCARO, Dakar, Senegal#103585

Apply now Job no: 523950
Work type: Fixed Term Appointment
Location: Senegal
Categories: Health, Finance and Administration

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, health

Organizational Context

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programs, in advocacy and in operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children’s rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favoritism. To the degree that any child has an unequal chance in life — in its social, political, economic, civic and cultural dimensions — her or his rights are violated. There is growing evidence that investing in the health, education and protection of a society’s most disadvantaged citizens — addressing inequity — not only will give all children the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also will lead to sustained growth and stability of countries. This is why the focus on equity is so vital. It accelerates progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, while also supporting the equitable development of nations.

Job organizational Context

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030) and the UNICEF Strategic Plan (2018-2021), the UNICEF Regional Office in West and Central Africa (WCARO) is implementing the 2018-2021 Regional Office Management Plan (ROMP) in response to regional priorities. The 2018-2021 WCARO Management Plan is built around the five goal areas of UNICEF’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021 and aims to deliver tangible results for children in the West and Central Africa Region (WCAR). It outlines the programming, strategic and management interventions and strategic shifts where UNICEF will need to make greater investments over the next four years.

The organizational health agenda is driven by the key results for results (KRCs) which, in Health, uses immunization (KRC#1) as the main entry point for strengthening primary health care (PHC). In addition, in the context of the revitalization of PHC, UNICEF in West and Central Africa (WCA) intensifies its efforts to accelerate the newborn health agenda and prevention and management of childhood diseases with a strong investment in the institutionalization of community health. While moving these agenda forward, investments will be made in health and community systems strengthening with a focus on building internal and local capacity for evidence generation and use to influence policies, plans, strategies and priorities including financing.

In the area of health financing, the focus will be on strengthening domestic resource mobilization efforts and improved management and efficiency of available funds.  Yet, most countries in the WCA region (WCAR) are still far from meeting the Abuja Declaration target of allocating 15% of the government budget to health.  Governments’ contribution to their country Current Health Expenditure represents less than third of the total expenditures on average in the region. As a consequence, health financing is still relying heavily on out of pocket spending and development assistance.

UNICEF’s commitment to supporting countries to reach universal health coverage lies in its capacity to influence national priorities and budget, leverage partners and resources in order to break the cycle of inadequate domestic financing for health in general and immunization specifically. UNICEF will work with governments as well as development partners to generate evidence and solid information basis for policy dialogue on health financing, informed resources allocations, policy making to strengthen public financial management in the context of revitalized PHC systems toward the SDGs. Support will also be provided to build capacity, develop investment cases to demonstrate the return for investment in healthy sector, and fiscal space analysis to ensure countries get value for money for strategic investment in health based on the public financing for children framework.

How can you make a difference?

Purpose for the job

UNICEF’s approach to Health Systems Strengthening (HSS), which includes health financing, explicitly focuses on the most marginalized women and children. Under the overall guidance of the Regional Advisor for Health Systems Strengthening, the Health Financing Specialist is responsible for strategic and operational guidance, and technical support in the area of health sector financing, including immunization. This includes support to managing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and reporting of the health (gender, maternal, neonatal, child survival/development) program/s financing within country programs and providing technical guidance including building national capacity, and operational support throughout the programming and implementation processes. The main purpose is to facilitate the achievement of concrete and sustainable results according to resource allocation, results based-management approaches and methodology (RBM) and organizational Strategic Plans and goals, standards of performance and accountability frameworks.

More specifically, the scope of work includes:  

Providing guidance and technical support to countries for better planning, budgeting and financing of child health programmes including immunization, Newborn and child health.

Ensuring that resource mobilization issues are addressed from a sector wide approach and that sustainability strategies include efforts to improve efficiency in the use of the existing resources, being domestic or external. 

Strategically leveraging immunization resources to strengthen the pillars of the health system to impact the broader Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health (MNCAH) with a focus on decentralized health systems management, innovative service delivery, and equitable access to quality services.  

Providing technical assistance to governments and other relevant stakeholders in estimating the operation costs of health, including immunization related strategic plans and making efficient use of resources;  

Work with governments and health and immunization partners on securing sustainable financing strategies in the context of Primary Health Care (PHC), including identifying new funding sources especially through domestic resource mobilization, as well as leveraging private sector’s resources.

Collaborate with the Social Policy Section in UNICEF and partners such as the African Development Bank (AFDB) on Public Expenditure Reviews (PERs), costing and financing studies, value for money analyses, investment cases and other PFM tools

Serve as the liaison with the WCARO Supply Section on supply related financing especially in the context of immunization

Support the development of research agendas and special initiatives related to improving health policy and financing.

Key functions, accountabilities

Influence policy and financing

The Regional Office support to country offices will be on analysis and evidence generation for resource mobilization and monitoring of health sector financing, with special focus on interventions and activities related to mother, newborn and adolescent health, particularly in the context of efforts to achieve Key Results for Children.

In the area of broader health and Primary Health Care in particular:

Support the development of investment cases for PHC revitalization including community health  

Provide support to countries for the development of District Health Management Team capacities in results-based planning and budgeting processes, including resources tracking, with a focus on key result for children

inform and upskill health staff on Public Finance Management (PFM) for health issues specially for service delivery

Support to identify PFM-related bottlenecks to health services delivery regarding the availability, flow and use of resources

Influence Public Finance Management Act to guide the planning and budgeting process to introduce Programme Based Budgeting (PBB) that will replace the traditional line item budgeting still existing in some countries.

Provide support to countries for the development and costing of their National Health Strategic Plans (NHDP) integrating PHC as priority focus

Support national programmes in the development of proposals for resource mobilization such as Gavi Full Portfolio Fund (FPF/CEF), World Bank Global Financing Facility and others.

In the area of immunization

Provide support on immunization planning, budgeting and overall Public Financial Management to countries

Develop immunization-specific investment `cases coupled with fiscal space analysis to inform policy decision, prioritization and strategic and programmatic shifts

Support progress tracking towards financing transition at country level, adapting/using the project’s transition benchmarks and helping to ensure that information is accessible to stakeholders and useful for decision making

Provide technical support to countries that require revision of their financial sustainability plans or elaborate Comprehensive Multi-Year Plan.

Serve as immunization focal point on immunization financing for all Gavi funded countries. In this capacity, provide support to enable UNICEF country offices to prepare suitable Gavi Pool Fund Portfolio related high quality funding proposals and provide inputs to regional and global resource leveraging efforts.  

Support the financial data quality improvement with a focus on the quality of the 4 financial indicators reported in the WHO/UNICEF Joint Report Form (JRF): expenditures for Government vaccines, total expenditure for vaccines in the country, all sources of funding, government routine immunization expenditures and total expenditures for immunization in the country from all sources.

Support countries implementing their Comprehensive Multi-Year Plans to develop action plans and baseline indicators for monitoring progress towards financial sustainability

Serve as the liaison with the Supply Section in supporting establishment of systems for monitoring financial sustainability of Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platforms

 Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building

Coordinate the collection, institutionalization and sharing of lessons learned to enhance performance and to use lessons learned in response of identified weaknesses.

 Other related duties

Performs other related duties as assigned by the supervisors including guiding, training, and coaching staff, interns and following up consultants’ tasks;

Maintain high level contacts and active collaboration with key partners, including through coordination mechanisms such as Harmonization for Health in Africa (HHA) including Gavi, WHO, WB to leverage technical and financial resources for RMNCAH, especially immunization

Represent UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office in relevant meetings at global, regional and national levels to ensure that UNICEF perspectives and priorities in health financing are adequately represented in relevant strategies and frameworks related to health financing.

As part of a regional team, contribute to promoting programmatic linkages between financing and other programmatic areas through exchange of information, meetings, documentation and dissemination of best practices.

Carry out any other duties that may be assigned by the Regional Health Adviser and Regional Office from time to time

Impact of Results

It is expected that the strategic and technical leadership of the incumbent in the area of health financing, including immunization, will significantly impact overall child survival and development across countries in the region. The efficacy and efficiency of the actual support provided by the position in terms of provision of guidance, resource and partner leveraging and technical support will contribute to strong strategic and technical positioning of UNICEF at the reginal and country level. This will ultimately contribute to enhancing the leadership, credibility and ability of UNICEF in the area of health financing as critical components of its efforts to achieve key results for children, towards improving child survival and development in West and Central Africa.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have:

Education:Advanced university degree in public health, health financing or related fields.

Experience:  Extensive experience (at least 8 years) in health system strengthening and/or Health financing at Country and international level including field experience and demonstrated professional achievements in Africa. Working experience proving technical expertise in health system and health financing.

Language Requirements: Fluency in both French and English is required. Please note that working knowledge of English is required for all assignments

For every Child, you demonstrate commitment.

UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

The competencies required for this post are:

Core Values


Diversity and inclusion


Core competencies

Communication [II] 

Working with People [II]      

Drive for Results [II] 


Functional Competencies:

Leading and Supervising [I]

Formulating Strategies and Concepts (II)   

Analyzing [III]

Relating and Networking [II]

Deciding and Initiating Action [II]

Applying Technical Expertise [II]


View our competency framework at


UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.


Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.


Advertised: Greenwich Standard Time
Applications close: Greenwich Standard Time

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