National Consultancy: United Nations Joint Programme on Health System Strengthening
Job no: 558899
Contract type: Consultant
Duty Station: Lilongwe
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Despite recent gains, Malawi’s health outcomes remain challenging. Healthcare resources in Malawi are unfairly and inefficiently focused on tertiary-level facilities and services. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) can only be realistically achieved through a lower-cost Essential Health Package (EHP) that emphasizes primary and preventive care, alongside improving quality and strengthening of health systems. The Umoyo Wathu Health Systems Strengthening (UW-HSS) programme (2019-2025) funded by FCDO (United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office) aims to improve the health and survival of the most vulnerable in Malawi. Currently, in its third year of implementation, the programme emphasizes (i) reaching the poorest and most vulnerable with cost-effective primary and community-based services; (ii) improving quality of care to ensure better life-saving outcomes and increased demand, and (iii) establishing more effective district governance and accountability for service delivery and outcomes to make better use of available resources.
The programme represents a significant shift from largely input-driven health financing at the national level, to focus tightly on strengthening the quality and coverage of UHC and delivering better health outcomes at the sub-national level through decentralized administration.
The programme will:
# increase provision and uptake of quality cost-effective life-saving primary healthcare (PHC) services;
# improve equitable resourcing and district management of services; and
# strengthen Government accountability and citizens’ participation in the delivery of health services in the focus districts.
United Nations Joint Programme
A Joint United Nations (JUN) Programme on health systems strengthening (HSS) has been developed by UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA and coordinated by the Resident Coordinators’ Office (RCO). The Joint Programme is providing technical support to ensure quality integrated Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child Health (RMNCH) services are available and accessible at primary care and community levels, leading to high coverage of such services which is a key condition for women, children and adolescents to attain a state of good health by 2025.
The United Nations Joint Programme (UNJP) is building upon the complementarities of the three agencies, bringing together the added value of each of the partners to address the multifaceted areas of HSS, PHC and achieving UHC - all important contributions towards sustainable development goals in Malawi. The UNJP HSS programme works alongside Government of Malawi (GoM) in the formulation of health policies for the delivery of RMNCH services and systems strengthening, directly implementing and effectively managing:
# Downstream partners for health workforce skills enhancement
# Community health workers (CHW) coordination and skills building
# Integration of health services
# Improving the quality of healthcare services
# Effective work with communities on accountability initiatives
# Emergency preparedness and response interventions with the flexibility to adjust priorities in responding to health shocks as they arise
Health Centre Improvement Grant (HCIG)
As a step towards Universal Health Coverage, the Government of Malawi has prioritized an Essential Health Package (EHP) to be delivered free at the point of care to all Malawians. However, the effective delivery of the EHP largely depends on the availability of adequate resources, which in the context of the Malawi health sector are highly constrained. Under the environment of limited opportunity for the expanding government and donor health budgets, efficiency gains will be critical for Malawi to achieve its UHC goals.
As part of an overall focus on efficiency gains, the MoH through the Malawi National Health Financing Strategy (HFS), 2022-30), is advocating for public financial management (PFM) reforms to include peripheral health facilities as cost centres, including payment of direct grants to the facilities, as part of increasing funding flows to the level of service delivery.
To promote government ownership and sustainability, the Ministry of Health (MoH) with technical support from UNICEF has established a task force at the national level to provide technical support to district teams that will be established and capacitated to train and mentor members of their respective Health Centre Management Committees (HCMCs) in the focus districts.
Under its governance objective of the UNJP programme and together with the MoH, the programme has initiated a phased scale-up of direct facility financing and accompanying community oversight mechanisms in selected districts to strengthen the case to scale up donor and government direct facility financing and to empower communities to address their health priorities. This will be initiated through a Health Centre Improvement Grant (HCIG). The MoH lead task force will provide oversight to project implementation.
The HCIG is expected to transition to a longer-term sustainability strategy. One of the key roles of the task force is to advocate for public financial management (PFM) reforms to enable direct government financing of health facilities. The task force will work through the Health Financing Technical Working Group (HF TWG) at MoH to achieve this, using the learning from HCIG.
How can you make a difference?
Specifically, the Health Systems Strengthening consultant will:
- Capacity building of Health Centre management Committees
# Provide technical support to the UN Joint Programme in training and supervision of the Health Centre Management Committees for implementation of the Health Centre Improvement Grant in selected UNJP districts.
# Ensure quality assurance of HCIG trainings at the district level through validation of training materials and providing on-spot technical support.
# Provide technical support to the Direct Facility Financing (DFF) Taskforce to monitor progress on the health centre improvement grants, with milestones for measuring progress and building the evidence base for advocating this (Direct Facility Financing) reform in the health sector.
# Support the DFF task force in transitioning HCIG to a longer-term sustainability strategy of channeling funds to Health Centres through public financial management (PFM) with the long-term goal of having HC recognized as cost centres.
# Develop DFF/HCIG operational guidelines and SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) for the district in consultation with the UNJP team.
- Technical support for the decentralization processes within the health system
# Oversee the capacity development of national, district and community structures in health facility level output based planning, budgeting and reporting.
# Develop and maintain strong and supportive relations with senior staff in the MOH, Districts, and other government departments as appropriate, particularly the Ministry of Local Government and the National Local Government Finance Committee.
# Support the decentralization agenda by means of strengthening the interface between the Ministry of Health and District, through the Satellite Offices, and the Ministry of Local Government.
# Liaise with MoH and facilitate regular supervision and technical review meetings at district and Satellite offices as appropriate.
- Support the UNJP team in programme coordination.
# Act as the link between the district level and central level UNJP Team to ensure HCIG is implemented in a coordinated manner.
# Support the UNJP team in ensuring that project stakeholders are fully appraised of programme objectives, activities and progress.
# Lead the planning, budgeting and performance monitoring of the Governance objective of the UNJP programme.
# Synthesis of district training and other HCIG periodic reports, identifying challenges and proposing punctual remedial action.
# Facilitate district HCIG entry and exit engagement meetings and draw lessons for upscaling HCIG to other districts.
# Facilitate cross-learning among HCMCs and document best practices.
# Contribute to the UNJP-HSS bi-annual Report to FCDO, synthesizing inputs from field staff.
# Contribute towards annual programme reviews.
# Provide support to the Programme Steering Committee and make presentations as required.
# Contribute to programme communications activities.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
- Master Degree in Health Management, Development Planning or other relevant degree is required.
- At least 8 years of work experience in development planning at district level is required.
- Experience in providing policy advice and programme support in area of local governance and decentralization in development context.
- Sound programme management experience is essential.
- Experience of coordinating with other donor funded technical assistance health programmes is essential.
- Over 8 years’ experience in providing technical assistance including long term technical assistance to Government through participatory approaches.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the legal and regulatory frameworks for local governance
Technical skills, knowledge and strength areas:
- Good understanding of direct facility financing and experience in the capacity development of district and community structures in planning, budgeting and implementation of small grant projects.
- Demonstrable knowledge of government health systems and systems reform in Africa is required.
- Demonstrable knowledge of good practices in capacity building and delivery of technical assistance is essential.
- Excellent Word, Excel and PowerPoint skills is needed.
- Demonstrable knowledge of international health development issues including the Paris Declaration, IHP, pooled funding mechanisms etc. is desirable.
- Demonstrable knowledge of Malawi’s current health policy and plans is essential. desirable
Excellent spoken and written English and report writing skills is required.
Please refer to the attached full Terms of Reference TOR UNJP HSS Consultant.pdf for more details on the consultancy and requirements.
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS).
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UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.
UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants/individual contractors with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the selection process and afterwards in your assignment.
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 be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.
HOW TO APPLY...
Interested consultants should provide the following:
- Curriculum Vitae
- Brief technical proposal (no longer than five pages) demonstrating the consultant’s understanding of the assignment and approach/methodology to the assignment
- Financial proposal including a breakdown of their all-inclusive fees (including professional fees, travel, living cost, visa and other costs). Financial Proposal for Consultancy.xlsx Complete the attached form.
- References details
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.
The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully-vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts.
Advertised: South Africa Standard Time
Deadline: South Africa Standard Time