Download the complete Terms of Reference here

Title: RapidPro mHealth Product Manager
Section/Unit: Office of Innovation
Duration: 6 months (with an optional extension up to maximum 11.5 months based on performance, need and availability of funding)
Duty Station:  Flexible; must have ability to travel frequently
Level: Individual contract (Equivalent to P4 / NO-D)

BACKGROUND

UNICEF Innovation is currently planning the scale up of several mobile driven tools supporting core UNICEF programmes such as in health, education, and youth engagement. Current development of the open-source technologies supporting UNICEF’s programmes require tools and components designed to accelerate replication by other country offices.

Evidence shows that digital health (eHealth), including strategies that leverage mobile technologies such as Short Message Service (SMS), can improve routine service delivery in terms of timely data collection and quality case management. Many of these eHealth systems show great potential in accelerating progress towards improving health service delivery. For example, in Uganda a nationally scaled RapidSMS-based solution called mTrac supported by UNICEF and WHO has allowed the government to track anti-malarial medicines, contributing to a reduction in stock-outs from 79% in 2011 to 15.4% by 2014. However, current experience to date has been based primarily on pilot projects with few evaluations. As a result, large-scale implementation or integration of eHealth innovations within national government health programs is still limited.  Therefore, there is an absence of adequate evidence about what works and knowledge of how to scale interventions that have demonstrated efficacy; and increasing calls for an evidence-based ‘systems approach’ to integrating these strategies into existing health systems.

One of the biggest challenges facing government and health development partners is the effort and cost required to deploy even the most basic eHealth system. While there are a number of eHealth tools that are hosted in the cloud or run off local computers, emerging government policies and laws are now increasingly requiring health data to be hosted at in-country data centres. This often necessitates sending in expensive foreign consultants, and hiring and training numerous technical staff to manage at great cost. Furthermore, establishing reverse-billed short codes – often a requirement for many mobile eHealth applications – can take years of negotiation with Mobile Network Operators in some countries. Furthermore, most investments in the eHealth space still do not take into account emerging best practices on enterprise level health information system architecture, including those coming from communities such as OpenHIE.

To address this, UNICEF has developed RapidPro. RapidPro is designed for programmatic experts–not technologists–to be able to easily create mobile interactions to monitor programmes, track activities, or engage with beneficiaries. The platform includes tools for quick graphing and data analysis, as well as the ability to export data directly to Excel for further analysis. It retains and expands upon the functionalities of RapidSMS, which powered Uganda’s U-Report, Uganda’s mTrac, Uganda’s Mother Reminder, Zambia & Malawi’s Project Mwana, and the Rwanda’s RapidSMS 1,000 Days, but is easy to setup and manage without technical expertise. UNICEF programmes in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are planning to either upgrade their current RapidSMS systems or implement new programmes on top of the RapidPro platform. All other UNICEF programmes are being encouraged to adopt RapidPro as the platform of choice for running SMS based mobile programmes.

UNICEF is currently exploring opportunities to support alignment of a number of key eHealth tools – including DHIS2, iHRIS – through the promotion and adoption of emerging best practices around health systems enterprise level architecture and Application Protocol Interfaces (API’s), and extend the functionality of a core set of eHealth tools that are already serving as the foundation for many national Health Information Systems through RapidPro; increasing the effectiveness of these tools exponentially and creating a platform for expanding specific interventions and programmes.

Additionally, a broader RapidPro supported “eHealth Suite of Tools” is planned, which will update and extend the reach of already UNICEF supported RapidSMS applications including maternal reminders, while adding new modules including a community counseling hotline application. This includes the community counseling hotline module (based off of the Zambia U-report HIV/AIDS counseling service) with an emphasis on breastfeeding and maternal, newborn, and child health counseling. The mother reminder application which will be built off of Project Mwana and the Uganda mother reminder systems, which strengthens the link between the community (through CHWs) and the formal health system (facilities).

In order for the health suite of RapidPro to be properly designed, deployed, managed, and aligned with other open source mHealth solutions, UNICEF Innovation sees a great need to strategically place a RapidPro mHealth product manager within UNICEF’s Health program activities.

PURPOSE OF THE APPOINTMENT

The product manager would serve as the focal point on RapidPro Health activities, while ensuring standards/principals are kept during deployments, mHealth/eHealth communities are engaged around the interoperability of RapidPro, partnerships are developed and maintained, and country offices are supported in developing and implementing mHealth activities. The product manager will work between UNICEF’s Health and Innovation teams at headquarters and UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre, with the expectation that country offices, RapidPro teams and stakeholders, and partners are visited when needed. The coordinator role will allow RapidPro to be strengthened in its health application rollouts and systematically integrated into other eHealth and mHealth systems.

The general objective of this consultancy is to provide overall product coordination and strategy support to the UNICEF Global Innovation Centre on the development and rollout of mHealth products using RapidPro. This candidate needs to gather large amount of information from various sources and synthesis is it into concrete plans for how the Global Innovation Centre should develop and package tools within the RapidPro Health suite.

It will require an ability to understand complex, abstract concepts, and ability to think creatively about best fitting technology for each project and build the end product. It will take an understanding of currently available technology and trends to develop effective solutions for the Health sector. It also requires an extensive background and presence in the mHealth/eHealth communities. The consultant will be expected to work closely and collaboratively with the Global Innovation Centre Real-time Information Product Manager, deployment lead, and technology lead.

MAIN ACTIVITIES

  • Working with UNICEF HQ Health Section, Regional offices and country offices to advance a global mHealth approach based on GreenTree principles and other existing best practices in the field.
  • Executing the product development and software development of immunization, mother reminders, regular indicator reporting, lab results delivery, helpdesk, and/or other relevant modules of the 1000 Days suite of tools.
  • Overseeing software development contract execution, in coordination with RapidPro Product manager and technology team. Participating in regular vendor coordination calls and meetings.
  • Supporting countries in mHealth strategy development and implementation, linking to other existing mHealth platforms in the country.
  • Identifying core sets of focus areas for further product development and deployment of RapidPro Health apps.
  • Coordinating and aligning the RapidPro Health suite roadmap and requirements with UNICEF HQ and existing grant requirements, in collaboration with the RapidPro Product Manager and technology specialists in these areas.
  • Developing a scalable rollout and support strategy for deployments of RapidPro Health suite tools.
  • Working with the UNICEF Health team to integrate with broader global strategy, and provide input to fundraising efforts (draft language and develop budgets where there are gaps in financing).
  • Supporting development of training materials and documentation for RapidPro suite of mHealth tools.
  • Participating in relevant standards/interoperability communities, working with existing open-source mHealth platforms (MoTECH, CommCare, DHIS2, OpenMRS, iHRIS etc) to ensure that any country implementation meets interoperability requirements.
  • Assessing further support needs required by countries to rollout RapidPro mHealth services and integration.
  • Reviewing existing UNICEF Health strategies, and provide recommendations to mainstream emerging best practices in the field of digital health systems into UNICEF programmes.

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATION

  • Advanced degree in a relevant field or equivalent professional experience.
  • At least 8 years of relevant professional experience.
  • Proven experience in the eHealth field – especially on deployment of mHealth systems with multiple partners and multiple systems strongly preferred.
  • Significant experience with software project management and product development, with an ability to translate complex ideas from various fields into unified, clear guidance is a must.

Additional Experience and Knowledge:

  • Experience managing external software vendors
  • Experience writing technical contracts
  • Experience writing technical documentation
  • Experience working in working, designing, or deploying solutions in/for low-resource settings
  • Extensive experience working with the mHealth/eHealth community
  • Knowledge and experience with DHIS2, OpenMRS, iHRIS, OpenHIE, MoTECH, CommCare, etc
  • Familiarity with open-source technology
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience with processing large amount of information and synthesizing it
  • Ability to work on a team in a diverse work environment

Languages:

Fluency in English.

Download the complete Terms of Reference here

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