Digital Health Specialist, P4, WCARO Dakar, Senegal #128305 At United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)


UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

At UNICEF, we are committed, passionate, and proud of what we do. Promoting the rights of every child is not just a job – it is a calling.
UNICEF is a place where careers are built: we offer our staff diverse opportunities for personal and professional development that will help them develop a fulfilling career while delivering on a rewarding mission. We pride ourselves on a culture that helps staff thrive, coupled with an attractive compensation and benefits package.

Visit our website to learn more about what we do at UNICEF.

For every child, Hope

Job 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.

UNICEF is committed to the vision of a world where everyone, especially children, has access to the care they need, a human right reaffirmed in the 2017 Tokyo Declaration on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Because UHC includes both access and financial protection, UNICEF is focused on strengthening community health systems and the quality of primary health care. Addressing inequities in health outcomes, strengthening health systems, including emergency preparedness, response and resilience-building, and promoting integrated, multi-sectoral policies and program all remain fundamental to the realization of UHC, and to achieving the SDGs and the goals articulated in UNICEF’s Strategy for Health (2016–2030) and the UNICEF Strategic Plan (2022-2025).

Digital technologies and improved data capacity are important catalysts for accelerating achievement of the 2030 SDG3 targets. Actionable and relevant data are the foundation to monitor progress toward SDG 2030, while harmonized digital systems optimize the health system to deliver in a coordinated manner, quality, coverage, and equity of health services. Digital systems can catalyze a necessary transformation in the health system – addressing ongoing data gaps and persistent health system challenges, facilitating a more resilient, person-centered, and responsive health system.
Digital innovations at community and primary health facility level can be useful for strengthening the linkages with, and use of, formal health services, while also supporting the institutionalization and strengthening of the community health system as a whole. While most countries now have some level of digitalization of their health system functions, countries struggle with the implementation of a large number of pilots which often are not designed for scale, using systems architecture that lacks interoperability, sometimes using non-validated solutions and solutions that are not designed with the users in mind, and which often do not have a sustainable financial or technical support model to allow for scale-up. This has resulted in highly fragmented and uncoordinated implementation of small-scale pilots with many types of tools and software solutions (often targeting the same health workers), not feeding data into health management information systems (HMIS) and not addressing the system problems or Ministry of Health needs.
Recognising the diversity of region and the country contexts in which UNICEF operates and reinforcing UNICEF’s leadership role in equity programming, Digital Health for the Last Mile is an approach to leveraging the way digital technologies can change how healthcare is delivered in the most underserved parts of the world – both in times of crisis and during times of stability – and thus represents a game changer for national and global approaches to health system strengthening.

The Digital Health Specialist will facilitate and support the UNICEF Regional Office for West and Central Africa to coordinate digital health investments at regional and national level, governments and partner level, working in very close collaboration with the WCARO Innovation/T4D team and in liaison with HQ (Digital Health Center of Excellence and Health Programme Group). Specific support includes coordination of readiness assessments, production of digital health investment cases that are embedded with digitally enabled health roadmaps as well as deployments of digital health solutions. The Health Specialist (digital health) will work in close collaboration with the regional and country health, T4D and SBC team, and be expected to leverage their expertise in managing partnerships, plans/strategies, and other resources to actively engage in and support this work on the ground.

This temporary position will be located in the UNICEF West and Central Africa Office, Dakar in Senegal. The Regional Adviser, Health and HIV will supervise this position.

How can you make a difference?

Purpose for the job

Under the guidance of the Regional Health Advisor, the purpose of this role is to offer Digital Health support to health programming within the UNICEF Regional Office for West and Central Africa. Working closely under the leadership of the supervisor, the incumbent will collaborate with key stakeholders such as the Regional Chief of ICT, Regional Business Analyst (T4D/Innovation), and the Senior Health Specialist (DICE) at UNICEF HQ, along with regional office staff, T4D/Innovation and program officers in country offices, Ministry of Health (MOH), WHO AFRO, the Africa CDC, and other relevant stakeholders.

This position holds accountability for the planning, design, implementation, and administration of a significant digital health system strengthening program within UNICEF’s Approach to Digital Health. The responsibilities encompass assessing existing deployments and partnerships, evaluating the status of “foundational eHealth building blocks,” identifying health system bottlenecks, exploring opportunities where digital health solutions could enhance the delivery of quality care at the community level, and strategizing the implementation of a digitally-enabled Primary Health Care (PHC) strategy based on robust eHealth building blocks. Furthermore, the role entails supporting the costing and development of an investment case for the scale-up of the digital health implementation plan.

It will require an ability to understand complex, abstract concepts, and ability to think creatively about best fitting technology for each country and create the end product investment case. It will take an understanding of currently available technology and trends to develop effective solutions for the Health sector, especially at community or primary health care level. It also requires an extensive background and presence in the mHealth/eHealth communities.

The purpose of the temporary appointment is also to support country offices in ensuring that existing digital health solutions, where appropriate, are leveraged in a way that is consistent with UNICEF’s guidance to improve future emergency preparedness and response.

Key functions, accountabilities and related duties/tasks

Within the delegated authority and under the given organizational set-up, the Digital Health Specialist is accountable the following areas of major duties and key end-results:

  1. Guide efforts in improving digital health interventions and data systems and interoperability for improved routine health data, including immunization data, community health and nutrition services data (CHMIS/HMIS), linked to community-based services for children, demand generation and community empowerment), civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) as well as health emergency preparedness and responses
  2. Enable technical and programmatic support on Digital Health and Technology for Development, including but not limited to DHIS 2, CHIS, digital health public goods, OpenSRP, CommCare and so son. Guide efforts in UNICEF to strengthening digital health systems that health-related data support will support generating sub-national & other disaggregation for measuring equity.
  3. Policy and Strategic Development for Digitally enabled Health Programming and System Strengthening. Support operationalization and implementation of digital health and health information system strategy.
  4. RTU Support: Act as the regional health focal point for the multisectoral regional office technical team dedicated to the Reach the Unreached Initiative. Provide day-to-day technical assistance, including coordinating digital health inputs from RO and country offices, facilitating RtU health missions, and managing health data inputs. Collaborate closely with country offices to ensure effective implementation of digital health interventions and seamless coordination with global Long-Term Agreement (LTA) holders to identify and provide life-saving vital services to unvaccinated and unregistered children through RtU.
  5. Provide technical assistance in scoping out functional and non-functional requirements for digital health and health information system solutions. In line with UNICEF Digital Health Approach, work with UNICEF country office staff and partners to understand how digital technologies can be applied to key bottlenecks and what is necessary to scale and sustain technology solutions to address the needs of the most vulnerable children. Contribute to usability and acceptability of digital health data solutions to assure a systems-level approach for how technologies can improve health system performance and child health outcomes.
  6. Align internally and in collaboration with WHO and partners and donor advocacy for advancing Digital Health solutions in child health data for policy and program decision making. Assist country offices to define metrics and goals for digital data use and support implementation and outcomes research on digital health programs.
  7. Analysing and keeping up to date mapping of existing digital health tools being used across the region for the regonal office to be on the forefront in understanding availability of digital systems for various common use-cases and for broader health system-strengthening in the region.
  8. Conduct landscape scoping assessments on digital technologies, tools and solutions relevant for health programmes. Provide technical assistance to digital readiness assessments (DPPA, EDIT, GDHI) and support country offices and governments (MOH and other Ministries) to inform investment plans and business cases and support country offices with technical assistance to strengthening of national digital health governance, policy and coordination mechanisms.
  9. Support knowledge management, capacity building for Digital Transformation in Health Programming.


Impact of Results

Makes decisions on coordination, technical assistance, consortium building and partnerships for digital health, including field facing digital health, frontier technology and digital innovations.
Decisions will affect the overall efficiency and effectiveness of UNICEF’s programme results at country level.
Makes technical recommendations contributing to UNICEF’s policy development, programme design and other technical and organisational guidance in relation to digital health.
These recommendations impact directly on the UNICEF’s positioning within the broader health community, with Govenrment and national partners, and the effectiveness of UNICEF’s programmes.
Quality Assurance:
Provides technical guidance to field programme/project activities, alignment with government health programmes, and partnerships.
Given the danger of poor digital health programme design to UNICEF’s larger health activities and national systems, quality technical assistance will reduce both programme and reputational risk to UNICEF and partners.

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

The following minimum requirements:

Education: Advanced university degree in computer science, information technology, public health or other related field or equivalent experience is required.

Work Experience:

  • At least 8 years of relevant professional work experience with clear responsibilities, at national and international levels in digital health programmes of concern to UNICEF, and more specifically in the area of child health
  • International and/or national work experience in low- and middle-income countries in capacity building/training, supervision, and guidance development for digital health, data management and analysis
  • Experience with building capacity of Governments and/or Ministries of Health for use of digital health technologies and collection, management and/or analysis of data to inform programmes
  • Experience with the development of technical and educational material such as guidance, implementation toolkits or field training manuals related to the deployment of digital solutions for health-related applications
  • Demonstrated ability to produce high quality technical document, including reports, funding proposals, publications or similar


Language Requirements: Fluency in English and good working knowledge in French is required.

The following desirables:

  • Experience in supporting the integration of digital health applications into national eHealth Strategies, Policies and/or Health Sector Development Plans will be considered an asset
  • Experience with UN agencies is preferred.
  • Experience with Digital Publics Goods (DPGs) and open-source technologies, including engagement with relevant Communities of Practice and at least three UNICEF priority platforms (CommCare, DHIS2, iHRIS, mHero, OpenMRS, OpenLMS, OpenSRP, RapidPro, etc) is an asset.
  • Language: Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish) or a local language.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships (2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (3) Drive to achieve results for impact (4) Innovates and embraces change (5) Manages ambiguity and complexity (6) Thinks and acts strategically (7) Works collaboratively with others

Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels.

This position has been assessed as an elevated risk role for Child Safeguarding purposes as it is: a role with direct contact with children, works directly with children, or is a safeguarding response role. Additional vetting and assessment for elevated risk roles in child safeguarding (potentially including additional criminal background checks) apply.

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.

We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks, and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.

UNICEF does not hire candidates who are married to children (persons under 18). 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 is committed to promoting the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. 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.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance. Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station is required for IP positions and will be facilitated by UNICEF. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Should you be selected for a position with UNICEF, you either must be inoculated as required or receive a medical exemption from the relevant department of the UN. Otherwise, the selection will be canceled.


As per Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity.

UNICEF’s active commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children.

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

Government employees who are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government positions before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.

UNICEF does not charge a processing fee at any stage of its recruitment, selection, and hiring processes (i.e., application stage, interview stage, validation stage, or appointment and training). UNICEF will not ask for applicants’ bank account information.

All UNICEF positions are advertised, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process. An internal candidate performing at the level of the post in the relevant functional area, or an internal/external candidate in the corresponding Talent Group, may be selected, if suitable for the post, without assessment of other candidates.

Additional information about working for UNICEF can be found here.

Special Notice on UNICEF office relocation:

UNICEF and other UN Agencies will be moving soon to the new United Nations House in Diamniadio, 30 kilometers from downtown Dakar. The name of the duty station for this position will remain Dakar, Senegal.