Unit Head Job at World Health Organization – in Genf, GE

Job Description

Grade: P5

Contractual Arrangement: Fixed-term appointment

Contract Duration (Years, Months, Days): 1 Year


Job Posting: Apr 8, 2021, 10:23:15 AM

Closing Date: Apr 28, 2021, 4:59:00 PM

Primary Location: Switzerland-Geneva

Organization: HQ/GIH Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness

Schedule: Full-time

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note that the deadline for receipt of applications indicated above reflects your personal device’s system settings.


The Department of Global Infectious Hazards Preparedness (GHP) advances global efforts to prevent and control existing and emerging infectious diseases by increasing access to evidence-based interventions; fostering impactful innovation and leveraging technical, operational and strategic partnerships. In addition, GHP develops global mechanisms to facilitate coordination and collaboration between countries and multi-sectoral partners for catastrophic events of natural, accidental or deliberate origin. The department of Global Infectious Hazards Preparednessis committed to delivering GPW13 Outcome 2.2 Epidemics and pandemics prevented, through:

i. Delivering risk assessment, technical guidance, interventions and control strategies for country impact.

ii. Promoting innovation and adoption of new technologies.

iii. Aligning and coordinating international action through trusted partnership.

iv. Ensuring vulnerable populations have access to life-saving interventions and supplies.

The Biorisks and Health Security Protection team’s primary role is to ensure public health goals are upheld in situations that involve the security sector. The Interface has four pillars of work: risk assessment, foresight, risk mitigation and risk management. The team provides a Secretariat function for the implementation of the four pillars, ensuring coordination between stakeholders and partners and increasing advocacy and awareness raising. The second function of the team to lead on the risk assessment and risk management pillars through building trusted partnerships; facilitating a UN-wide coordinated approach; and delivering tools and guidance.


Within the framework of the delegated authority, the incumbent is assigned all or part of the following responsibilities:

Provides technical leadership, coordination and managerial support within the Department/Programme, in the Unit of Biorisks and Health Security Protection ensuring that activities in this area are carried out efficiently and effectively, including deliberate events detection, risk assessment, investigation and capacity strengthening through partnerships as well as Infectious hazards foresight.

Develops and proposes technical health policies and strategies for implementation through collaboration with Regional and Country Offices and provides advice in developing further the Biorisks and Health Security Protection for strengthening and improving technical capacity of target clienteles, including deliberate event preparedness and response activities; encourage information-sharing and lessons learning in a proactive manner.

Oversees a unit of technical teams specialized in various domains within their area of expertise and facilitates the efficient flow of team synergies within the department and beyond.

Manages the programme area in delivering its objectives through efficient managing asmall team of technical staff, financial resources and effective work planning to optimize the programme’s deliverables in line with the mandate of the Organization.

Leads and conducts research on best practices in implementing programmes and activities and dissemination of information for capacity building in the respective area of work.

Manages the monitoring and evaluation and reporting of the subject area of work of key performance indicators and reporting requirements and mechanisms to optimize performance of Programme deliverables.

Serves as the technical reference among the peer community, UN Agencies and other stakeholders at the technical levels in the respective area of expertise.Liaises with and utilizes partnerships in other UN Agencies, Donor, or research Institutions and WHO Collaborating centres in the Biorisks and Health Security protection to position the technical area of work and implementation into Global and/or National policies.

Represent the programme area of work at various meetings to advocate Biorisks and Health Security protection. Perform all other related duties as assigned, including replacing and/or backstopping.

The incumbent is expected to develop 3 areas of work:
Biosafety and Biosecurity: Oversee WHO Laboratory biosafety and biosecurity program, In-house coordinator with external laboratory experts, oversee Smallpox repository inspections.

Biorisk Preparedness and Capacity Building: Manage Health and Security Sector Interface, develop and oversees the WHO deliberate event task force, oversee technical aspects of biological preparedness and response across WHO.

Foresight on infectious hazards: Identify scenarios for the future, assess, and recommend actions regarding preparedness for infectious hazards and health security protection taking into account emerging social, political, environmental, health, technological or scientific trends.

Interact with the other Units of the department and other departments using a matrix approach to develop the foresight function for WHE , in particular leverage on strategic and technical advisory groups to feed into foresight discussions.



An advanced level university degree in medicine, public health, chemistry or biology.

Studies in (business) management or international affairs, or diplomacy.


A minimum of 10 years of professional experience in the management of bio risks or epidemics and Health Security Interface, including experience in the area of health policies and strategies.

Demonstrated experience managing human and financial resources.

Demonstrated experience at the international level.

Track record and experience of supervision of staff.

Experience in project management.

Experience working with legal international instruments and institutions in the context of security and emergency systems.

Experience of work in international organizations.


  • Concrete skills in the planning and coordination of multidisciplinary public health programmes, which may include the implementation of a public health/disease control programmes.
  • Strong skills in the area of developing and establishing polices and strategies.
  • Excellent skills and ability in managing diverse teams and financial resources.
  • Good skills in mobilizing resources.
  • Ability to engage and communicate effectively and diplomatically with external partners including Ministries of Health, Donor institutions, Civil Society and other stakeholders.
  • Commitment to collaborate effectively with other key partners in the Health Subject area.

WHO Competencies


Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences


Driving the Organization’s Position in Health Leadership

Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond

Creating an empowering and motivating environment

Use of Language Skills

Expert knowledge of English.

Intermediate knowledge of French.

Intermediate knowledge of UN Language.


WHO salaries for staff in the Professional category are calculated in US dollars. The remuneration for the above position comprises an annual base salary starting at USD 89,837 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable), a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station, and currently amounts to USD 6161 per month for the duty station indicated above. 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: http://www.whed.net/. 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: http://www.who.int.

WHO is committed to workforce diversity.

WHO’s workforce adheres to the WHO Values Charter and is committed to put the WHO Values into practice.

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: http://www.who.int/employment/en/. 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.

About Company

Company: World Health Organization –

Company Location:  Genf, GE

About World Health Organization -