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Digital Health Lead – International Consultancy

Location: Congo

Work Type: Consultancy

If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world’s leading children’s rights organization would like to hear from you.

For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children’s survival, protection, and development. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations, and governments.

BACKGROUND

With only 16.8% children from 12-23 months who have received all required immunization by the national immunization program before their first birthday and measles before their second birthday ( MICS 2015), the  Congolese immunization system remain weak despite the existence of a conducive environment such as:

  • The government supporting the total cost of traditional immunization supply
  • Progressive introduction of new vaccines through the partnership with Global  Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI)
  • Good geographic accessibility of the health centers for immunization. According to a KAP survey on immunization (2013), 3 out of 5 respondents live at less than  30 minutes of an immunization center
  • Good understanding of immunization among the population

This same survey has also revealed bottlenecks related to the dysfunction of the health system:

  • Insufficient supply of health services and outreach strategies in immunization centers;
  • Non-compliance with immunization calendar
  • Insufficient personnel in the health centers
  • Uneven equipment of health centers in cold chain

The reforms engaged by the Ministry of Health aimed at the revitalization of the  health system and primary health services can help reduce the bottlenecks, but will not be enough to fill the gaps of essential information in households and health agents.

The MICS 2015 (Multi-cluster survey) indicates that 88.9% of families have at least one mobile phone. The KAP 2013 survey also showed that households are keen to interact in sensitization or monitoring activities through mobile phones. Recent experience using a mobile phone for KAP survey was successful. Thus using the mobile phone for sending reminders and recalling lost patients for immunization could be introduced in health centers and help generate data for immunization performance monitoring.

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 and increasingly call for an evidence-based ‘systems approach’ to integrating these strategies into existing health systems.

Under the leadership of the UNICEF, a new initiative is underway to develop a Digital Health Immunization program using UNICEF’s RapidPro software, focused on improving immunization coverage and tracing children who default from vaccination. This approach will strengthen the link between the community through CHWs and the formal health system (facilities) will be designed based on experiences conducted of Project Mwana (Zambia) and the Uganda mother reminder systems.

Through this consultation, UNICEF commits to assisting the Ministry of Health and Population in the development of the implementation of a project on the utilization of Mobile Phones as an entry point for routine immunization. The pilot phase of the project will be focalized in urban areas. 

PURPOSE OF THE APPOINTMENT

The general objective of this consultancy is to provide in-depth support to the design and implementation of Digital Health innovations (focused on immunization) in the republic of Congo, with the aim of reducing default rates amongst children receiving immunizations and increasing overall coverage rates with an equity focus. The consultant will support the program design, Digital Health system set-up (mobile network operator engagement, software launch), and development of training materials and documentation of the project. In addition, the consultant will work to ensure scalability and interoperability with national HMIS, and assess the contribution of the innovation initiatives to achieving immunization program objectives.

Specific Objectives:

  • Develop tailored interactions and engagement flow on RapidPro that respond to the specific requirements of the Congo context vis-a-vis improving Immunization program management and engaging the most vulnerable mothers to enhance service delivery.
  • Design program impact metrics linked to communication flows. This will include designing SMS communication to eligible children’s parents/guardians as well as designing data analysis systems to feedback to health workers / providers in real time.
  • Reinforce service provider capacities (CSI/CSS agents) to use mobile communication and management dashboards
  • Generate data for the monitoring performance at CSI and at the health district office
  • Evaluate the application’s performance and potential to integrate into national Health Information Management System (HMIS) / SNIS
  • Build capacities of a national Digital Health Officer and other key stakeholders in UNICEF and the Ministry of Health  to enhance and support the scale of the program in mid to long term

MAIN ACTIVITIES

  • Providing technical guidance and direct support to the country office and Ministry counterparts regarding implementation and documentation of an immunization innovation initiative
  • Working with UNICEF country office and in collaboration with the Global Innovation Centre to advocate for a global Digital Health approach based on existing best practices
  • Documenting the project implementation and designing a Digital Health model for replication in other departments
  • Tailoring UNICEF Innovation toolkit for Digital Health to the Congo-specific context
  • Providing direct support to country office in developing best practice strategies on using real-time information tools in Health
  • Work with the UNICEF Health team to integrate digital health tools into the broader health strategy of the MOH and Country Office activities
  • Support and provide input to the fundraising efforts to scale the Immunization digital health initiative as part of broader work on Health System Strengthening
  • Supporting coordination of the development of training materials and documentation of RapidPro and Digital Health  services in the target departments;
  • Participating in relevant standards/interoperability communities, working with existing open-source Digital Health platforms (DHIS2, OpenMRS, iHRIS etc) to ensure that the country implementation meets interoperability requirements.

Assessing further support needs to be required by countries to rollout RapidPro Digital Health services and integration.

Methodology

The consultant will use his/her expertise to facilitate interaction between different parties such as the Ministry of Health and Population (MSP), the mobile telephone companies and other relevant partners. This project will incorporate a 2016 work plan in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Population and other health partners (WHO, World Bank).

The national immunization program will orient the choice of the software implementation and will facilitate the linkages between the Digital Health and the health services (collect data on childbirth, organization and operation of health services to produce and analyze health statistical information in relation to the project performance). The pilot phase of the project will start in the urban area. The consultant will assist the Ministry of Health and Population on module elaboration and the software usage, and thus contribute to building their capacities to monitor the effectiveness of immunization services utilization and influence parents’ behaviors through SMS.  The process will also include monitoring and evaluation activities, organizing a qualitative and quantitative survey for focus group during and after the pilot phase, including the possibility of designing patient-facing communication via SMS.

The overall process will be documented to facilitate evaluation and eventually allow the replication of the system.

Key Expected Results

  1. Timely, regular data-driven analysis for effective prioritization, planning, development and results-based management for scaling-up specific Health interventions.
  2. Technical expertise on specific Health interventions.
  3. Technical and operational guidance provided to key government and non-government partners on scaling-up interventions, including the elaboration and implementation of detailed sectoral work-plans and budgets (downstream activities).
  4. Monitoring, evaluation, and reporting on specific Health interventions carried out through various field visits, in a timely manner, efficiently, rigorously and transparently in compliance with the established guidelines and procedures.
  5. Government and non-government recipients accountable for UNICEF specific supply, non-supply, and financial assistance.
  6. Effective knowledge management through documentation and dissemination of lessons learned and implementation of appropriate capacity building activities.UNICEF Innovation sees a great need to strategically place a Digital Health program manager within UNICEF’s Health program activities. It will require a consultant with the 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 Digital Health/eHealth communities and a working experience with Mobile Network Operators.
  7. More specifically, the consultant should satisfy the following criteria:
  • Qualifications of Successful Candidate
    • Advanced university degree in a relevant field or equivalent related practical experience (health, social science, M&E..).
    • At least 5 years of professional experience in related fields.
    • Experience with processing large amount of information
    • Significant experience with project management.
    • Proven work experience with mobile telephony and familiarity with open-source technology, preferably with RapidPro and related products
    • Extensive Experience working with the Digital Health community
    • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
    • Ability to translate complex ideas from various fields into unified, clear guidance is a must.
    • Ability to work in a team and in a diverse work environment
    • Very good proficiency in using Excel
    • Capacity to speak and write fluently in French and English.

Competencies of Successful Candidate Core Values

  • Commitment
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Integrity

Core competencies

  • Communication
  • Working with people
  • Drive for results

Functional Competencies

  • Leading and Supervising
  • Networking
  • Analyzing
  • Innovating, formulating strategies
  • Relating and Networking
  • Leading and supervising
  • Deciding and Initiating Action

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization.

Vacancy Link: http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/?job=496281

Opening Date 7 Jun 2016 E. Africa Standard Time

Closing Date 10 Jul 2016 E. Africa Standard Time

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