Switzerland: Senior Public Health Officer

By UN High Commissioner for Refugees Organization: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Switzerland
Closing date: 18 Oct 2018

Senior Public Health Officer

The Senior Public Health Officer will ensure that UNHCR’s health programmes meet minimum UNHCR and international health standards. The incumbent plays a crucial role in programme coordination, planning, and monitoring health programmes including data analysis and evaluation, capacity building of UNHCR personnel and partners, advocacy, information and communication on public health-related issues.

The incumbent of the position oversees and supervises the Public Health programmes in the operations under the Area of Responsibility (AoR), provides strong technical guidance to partners and monitors the programmes. The incumbent has close contacts with internal and external stakeholders such as the Regional Bureaux, Government counterparts, NGOs, UN Agencies and Embassies.

In the field, the Senior Public Health Officer is a member of the senior management team in his/her duty station and region, will coordinate and provide technical support to a regional network of country-level Public Health and HIV focal points as well as Protection and Programme Officers.


UNHCR’s country operations are technically sound and thus better able to meet the needs of refugees.
Immediate respond to refugee emergencies is ensured.
There is a viable standard Health Information System in place for data collection, analysis and interpretation to serve as evidence base for planning and interventions.


  • Contribute to development and implementation of UNHCR’s Strategic Plan for Public Health.
  • Work in a multi-sectoral and co-ordinated approach in co-operation with government, UN agencies, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other humanitarian partners with due consideration to the principles and approaches outlined in the Global Compact on Refugees.
  • Work with stakeholders, including UN agencies, NGOs, Ministries of Health and academic institutions for development of public health plans associated with refugee movements (including in repatriation programmes).
  • Take a lead role in co-ordinating Health and Nutrition activities and ensure that decisions are implemented as agreed upon.
  • Work closely with UNHCR programme, field and protection staff to identify priority health issues and key data requirements for programme planning and monitoring to ensure that minimum UNHCR and international standards are being met.
  • Update and disseminate standard practices on public health, nutrition, HIV and reproductive health among partners.
  • Support the prioritization of the Primary Health Care strategy focusing on preventive and basic curative health, including mental health, reproductive health, HIV and nutritional components.
  • Support linkages of public health to WASH programmes.
  • Support health focal points to participate in the review and analysis of relevant project proposals and budgetary submissions presented by UNHCR partners within the context of the UNHCR programming cycle.
  • Ensure that project plans or proposals submitted to UNHCR for funding adhere to internationally accepted standards, and are based on a comprehensive PHC strategy.
  • Provide technical assistance in needs and resources assessments together with the government and partners in order to prioritise needs and activities in the provision of services to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR.
  • Ensure, in close co-ordination with other humanitarian actors, that health care services provided to persons of concern (PoCs) are based on Ministry of Health, UNHCR and/or internationally recognized and most up-to-date standards and policies
  • Establish and/or adapt UNHCR internal guidelines and procedures to streamline inputs and improve efficiency of the programme activities.
  • Maintain and update contingency plans for potential epidemics, refugee and returnee movements.
  • Ensure implementation of the UNHCR Health Information System and other relevant data collection tools to and support the analysis of public health data.
  • Ensure the monitoring and evaluating of health and nutrition programmes against standard UNHCR and international indicators, to ensure that programmes are evidence-based and implemented in a comprehensive and cost-effective manner.
  • Support nutritional surveys and other health-related surveys.
  • Promote applied research and programme evaluation to enable the identification of gaps in programme implementation and standards, and to further promote evidence-based activities and guidance.
  • Monitor technical aspects of the health and nutrition programme.
  • Apply various mechanisms and tools to ensure proper monitoring.
  • Ensure capacity building of UNHCR and its implementing partners to address public health, nutrition, reproductive health and HIV programming in a co-ordinated, multi-sectoral way.
  • Support UNHCR staff in co-ordinating Public Health and HIV activities in line with UNHCR¿s role as a UNAIDS co-sponsor.
  • Share with local and international partners on the ground relevant guidelines and information materials on refugee HIV, reproductive health, general health, and nutrition.
  • Work with others in UNHCR to advocate for refugees, returnees and other persons of concern access to local public health, reproductive health (RH) and HIV services and lobby for inclusion of refugees, returnees and other persons of concern as a specific group in government policies and plans related to health, RH and HIV as well as major donor programmes such as the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria.
  • Promote information sharing on all aspects related to refugees and persons of concern to UNHCR and the UNHCR role in advocacy for the welfare and rights of refugees and persons of concern to UNHCR.
  • Ensure regular update and share information within UNHCR as well as with the government, UN and NGO partners and donor communities on the health status and needs of the refugees.
  • Perform other related duties as required.


  • Provide guidance and make recommendations on the overall strategy and focus of Public Health and Nutrition programmes.
  • Represent UNHCR in Health Coordination and other meetings.
  • Enforce compliance with, and integrity of, all Public Health standard operating procedures.
  • Decide priorities in the designing of implementation plan.
  • Intervene with implementing partners on public health and nutrition issue.
  • Negotiate locally on behalf of UNHCR.


  • A clinical background (nurse or MD) with postgraduate training in Public Health or related field
  • Minimum 8 years of previous job experience relevant to the function
  • Knowledge of public health, nutrition and HIV in humanitarian emergencies
  • Exposure to UNHCR mandate, its priorities and principles.
  • Good communicator with strong interpersonal and negotiations skills
  • Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.


  • Additional qualifications in Nutrition and WASH and a thorough understanding of the linkages with public health.
  • Proven ability to deal with multiple tasks in a courteous and service-oriented manner in a demanding working environment that often has short deadlines.
  • Ability to coordinate a range of diverse actors and activities to achieve a common objective in the area of Public Health.
  • Applied knowledge in UNHCR programme management, project formulation, its programme cycles and reporting standards.
  • Knowledge of additional UN languages.

How to apply:

Interested candidates should apply at: https://bit.ly/2Rt4yyZ

To view all vacancies, please go to the UNHCR Career Page at www.unhcr.org/careers.

Deadline for applications: 18 October 2018 (midnight Geneva time).

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.