Consultancy – Maternal and Newborn Health Consultant, Sexual Reproductive Health Branch, Technical Division At United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)_unfpa-united-nations-population-fund-nigeria-177936


Duration: 11 months (March 2024 to January 2025) – possibility of contract extension

The Position:
Under the direct supervision of the Maternal and Newborn Health Thematic Fund (MHTF) Coordinator and working closely with the MHTF team of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Branch, Technical Division, the Consultant will provide technical leadership on the MHTF’s Emregency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) and Maternal and Perinatal Deaths Surveillance and Response (MPDSR) programmes and specifically coordinate and monitor the implementation of a project funded by Takeda Pharmaceuticals in three countries in Africa.

UNFPA has been supporting EmONC interventions and EmONC service delivery networks in 16 countries and these initiatives need to be both monitored and scaled up in other countries/regions. MPDSR is critical for accountability in tracking causes of maternal and newborn deaths and disabilities and taking corrective actions. Systems on maternal and perinatal death notification, analysis and response need to be strengthened and health workforce (particularly midwives) capacities improved.

About UNFPA and How You Can Make a Difference:
UNFPA is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA’s strategic plan (2022-2025), reaffirms the relevance of the current strategic direction of UNFPA and focuses on three transformative results: to end preventable maternal deaths; end unmet need for family planning; and end gender-based violence and harmful practices. These results capture our strategic commitments to accelerating progress towards realizing the International Conference on Population and Development (ICDP) Programme of Action (ICPD-PoA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the Decade of Action leading up to 2030.
The MHTF, established in 2008, follows a people-centered, rights-based, gender-transformative and life course approach. In 2023, the MHTF continued to support 32 high maternal and newborn mortality countries across 5 regions (the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, East and Southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and West and Central Africa). The MHTF plays a vital role in driving UNFPA’s maternal and newborn health agenda by providing technical leadership, operationalizing global standards, and collaborating with country and regional offices to maintain the focus on maternal and newborn health and wellbeing within the context of comprehensive SRHR. All of the MHTF’s efforts are aimed at accelerating progress towards achieving UNFPA’s three transformative results, specifically the one aimed at achieving zero preventable maternal deaths with strong linkages with the other two transformative results on ending harmful practices (transforming gender norms) and ending the unmet need for family planning.


The MHTF is now entering its Phase IV in 2024 (2024 -2027) with the aim to continue providing direct program implementation and focused technical support to priority countries, and all regions, propelling progress in a more focused set of countries based on analysis of the new MMR estimates. Phase IV will support both UNFPA’s Strategic Plans (2022-2025, 2026-2029) and the MNHW Strategy (2023-2030).
Building on the success factors and the lessons learned from Phase III, and addressing the recommendations that emerged from the midterm evaluation in 2022, a new Business Plan for MHTF Phase IV UNFPA will increasingly address maternal and newborn health and well-being within the scope of health system strengthening, including ensuring integrated MNH/SRHR service delivery as part of universal health coverage (UHC) with a strengthened focus on primary health care (PHC), and quality of care. The MHTF will also strengthen community engagement for MNH, and target a wider spectrum of related morbidities such as maternal mental health, mental health for health workers, cervical cancer, and others, following strong gender transformative and human rights based approaches.
The new Business Plan responds to the new MMR data and is also futuristic in responding to the potential impact (opportunities and threats) of megatrends such as climate change, migration, urbanization, humanitarian crises, demographic shifts, digitalization and past and future pandemics.
The MHTF directly contributes to global partnerships in MNH, including the ENAP (Every Newborn Action plan)/EPMM (Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality) and other global initiative co-chaired by UNFPA, WHO and UNICEF. Its interventions complement other major initiatives, such as the Muskoka, and the Global Financing Facility (GFF).


You would be responsible for:
Reporting to the Maternal Health Thematic Fund Coordinator and working closely with the MHTF team, the purpose outlined above, includes implementing the following activities:
● Act as a liaison between various stakeholders, including UNFPA Country and Regional Offices, governments, and other partners involved in health system strengthening, with a specific focus on EmONC and MPDSR programmes.

● Serve as UNFPA focal point for the MPDSR global technical working group and as co-chair of the monitoring sub-group.

● Coordinate the evaluation of UNFPA’s EmONC network approach and assess the existing EmONC networks in target countries, identifying gaps and opportunities for improvement.

● Support upstream policies, strategies and norms for adequate deployment of midwives to EmONC facilities and to better track the gaps in midwives skills and capacities and EmONC facility deficiencies in promoting an overall enabling environment for midwives.

● Work towards EmONC facilities providing proper mentorship training to midwives to ensure maintenance of their competencies.

● Support the finalization of the revision of the EmONC framework, its validation by UNFPA, and contribute to its dissemination to regions and countries.

● Support technical assistance to countries on health system strengthening, with a particular focus on integration of midwifery in EmONC network and MPDSR and act as focal point for a number of MHTF priority countries.

● Serve as UNFPA focal point in the MoNITOR (including the measurement of the skilled health personnel indicator), in the ENAP EPMM metrics groups, and in the EPMM technical working group and assist in the planning, organization, and execution of the regional ENAP-EPMM workshops.

● Lead the development of technical guidance for countries to measure EPMM Target #4 and coordinate UNFPA’s partnership with related IPs

● Contribute to the development of health system technical content, including training materials, case studies, and best practice guidelines with a specific focus on health system redesign, EmONC network and MPDSR.

● Coordinate and monitor the Takeda project, together with the UNFPA Regional Office for West and Central Africa, provide technical support to the three targeted countries through join field missions with the regional office and oversee the implementation of activities funded by the Takeda grant, ensuring adherence to objectives, timelines, and budgets.

● Lead the development of an internal programmatic guide on MNH and Climate change

● Act as the liaison between the MNH team and PDB on strategic information and maternal health

Cross-cutting and reporting:
● Contribute to the operationalization of UNFPA Maternal and Newborn Health and Wellbeing Strategy through development of high impact practice programmatic guidance.
● Encourage and support research initiatives and innovative solutions to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes.
● Provide regular updates and comprehensive reports to UNFPA and other stakeholders on the progress, challenges, and outcomes of the consultancy activities.

Travel to programme countries and conferences may be required.

Expected deliverables:
● High quality technical input on EmONC and MPDSR provided on MHTF Phase IV country and regional mult-iyear proposals.
● Document at least 2 case studies on the EmONC approach Mission reports from TA missions to countries and technical report form EmONC workshops
● Evaluation of UNFPA’s EmONC approach effectively coordinated and report available
● Internal capacity of UNFPA built on the revised EmONC framework including during three upcoming regional workshops.
● Technical guidance for countries to measure EPMM Target #4 available and internal programmatic guide on MNH and Climate change developed
● Technical review of training materials, case studies, and best practice guidelines with a specific focus on health system redesign, EmONC network and MPDSR provided.
● Ongoing effective coordination and monitoring of the Takeda project
● Assess MHTF country and regional reports and end line data for MHTF Phase III and produce EmONC and MPDSR and draft the relevant sections for the MHTF 2023 annual report and the Phase III report.


Advanced (Master’s) degree in medicine, public health, or international development or related field of study.

Knowledge and Experience:
● At least ten (10) years of technical expertise on SRHR and MNH
● Experience in project management and coordination
● excellent understanding of SRHR maternal and newborn health and midwifery practice, with specific experience in planning, implementing and monitoring EmONC and MPDSR programmes
● Sensitivity to the issues addressed by UNFPA and the UN system
● Team player with excellent communication skills
● Knowledge of French in addition to English is required.

How to Apply
Please send your CV and cover letter to Mikaela Hildebrand – with the subject “Consultancy – Maternal and Newborn Health, SRHB”.

Due to the volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.
DEADLINE: 6 March 2024.