The World Bank Group (WBG) is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions – providing loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses. The vision of the World Bank Group (WBG) is the eradication of extreme poverty and the promotion of shared prosperity by fostering income growth of the bottom 40 percent in each country. To achieve its vision, the WBG leverages the combined strength of its institutions and their ability to partner with the public and private sectors to deliver customized development solutions backed by finance, world class knowledge and convening services.
Job Title: Senior Health Specialist
HEALTH, NUTRITION AND POPULATION GLOBAL PRACTICE CONTEXT:
The central contribution of the HNP Global Practice to the World Bank’s twin goals is to enable the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), in which all people are effectively covered by essential health services, and nobody suffers undue financial hardship because of illnesses. The HNP Global Practice includes staff members in Washington, DC and many country offices. The HNP Global Practice works with and across multiple sectors, in recognition of the fact that HNP outcomes often depend on actions that lie outside the HNP sector. The HNP Global Practice supports Ghana efforts as well as regional efforts to: (i) improve health outcomes, especially for the poor and most vulnerable; (ii) expand access to high-quality HNP services, interventions and technologies that give the most value for money; (iii) strengthen health systems for results; (iv) establish and improve health financing mechanisms that promote efficiency, equity and sustainability of investments; (v) strengthen heath-relevant institutions within and outside the health sector; (vi) harness multisectoral policies and investments for better health outcomes; and (vii) develop and learn from rigorous impact evaluations.
AFRICA REGION CONTEXT:
Africa has registered strong economic growth in recent years that has helped to reduce poverty levels in the continent. Yet, as Africa’s population expands, the region faces a critical challenge of creating the foundations for long-term inclusive growth. Many countries still contend with high levels of child and maternal mortality, malnutrition is far too common, and most health systems are not able to deal effectively with epidemics and the growing burden of chronic diseases. These challenges call for renewed commitments and accelerated progress toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC)—the principle that everyone receives needed health services without financial hardship.
Ghana is a lower middle-income country, but its health indicators do not reflect this status. There has been some improvement over the years following the implementation of an UHC strategy since 2004 and adoption in 2019 of a Roadmap for attaining UHC by 2030. However, the country has not been able to contain and reduce significantly preventable maternal and child deaths; build resilience to public health emergencies; reduce financial hardship linked to illness; and strengthen the foundations for long-term economic growth. Ghana’s domestic resources for health, and development assistance, have reduced significantly over time. The country aims at improving equitable and quality health services and increase financial protection. Ghana is also targeting reforming the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for better outcomes. It should be noted that the government of Ghana requested the Bank to prepare a new Human Capital operation for delivery in the next fiscal year. The operation will aim at supporting Ghana to protect and to increase the country human capital and will require innovative thinking.
Ghana has invested significant resources to respond to the urgent health needs of its population under the Covid-19 pandemic. The emphasis has been to detect and contain the virus, slow down and manage community spread; provide adequate medical care for COVID-19 cases, build and strengthen capacity for health research and Innovations; and strengthen governance, coordination and accountability of the COVID-19 response. However, there remain significant gaps in the country’s capacity to handle a surge of critical cases with less than one hundred (100) ICU beds. Uptake of essential services has dropped significantly prompting the need for a focused service continuity plan and demand generation strategy to be put in place and be supported financially.
Ghana is engaged in the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in Support of “Every Woman Every Child” which is a country driven partnership that aims to accelerate efforts to end preventable maternal, newborn, child and adolescent deaths and improve the health and quality of life of women, adolescents and children, and thereby prevent up to 3.8 million maternal deaths, 101 million child deaths, and 21 million stillbirths in high burden countries by 2030. The GFF acts as a pathfinder in a new era of financing for development by pioneering a model that shifts away from focusing solely on official development assistance to an approach that combines external support, domestic financing, and innovative sources for resource mobilization and delivery (including the private sector) in a synergistic way.
The region is implementing several projects with the Result-Based Financing as a key mechanism to improve service delivery and contribute to boosting human capital index in African countries.
Duties and Accountabilities:
The Senior Health Specialist or Senior (Health) Economist will have the following key responsibilities, inter alia:
• Lead the teams in policy dialogue, communications and interactions with government counterparts, country stakeholders as well as development partners;
• Provide implementation support, as needed, to the Bank’s HNP portfolio in West and Central Africa, which includes: (a) several Health system Support Projects aiming at: (i) improving health service delivery and governance; and (ii) responding to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH) needs ; (b) Regional Projects such as REDISSE and Covid-19 emergency response projects; (c) future Investing in Human Capacity strengthening as well as Early Years and Fertility operations;
• Lead the technical discussions and monitoring of the Bank portfolio in Ghana in close collaboration with the relevant government agencies and development partners in the countries;
• Develop sector-specific inputs for various operational products/outputs (e.g. sector/country briefings, background reports, portfolio performance reviews, etc.);
• Produce and review sector-specific policy and other documents on the country;
• Lead missions of the health team; and
• Respond to ad hoc tasks and information requests from internal and external parties;
• Mentor junior staff in the country office as well as in the unit.
The work will be substantive in nature, requiring frequent missions in the field and interactions with various internal and external counterparts. The selected candidate will be based in Accra, Ghana.
The Senior Health Specialist or Senior (Health) Economist will report to the Practice Manager (Health Nutrition and Population) for West Africa. Based in Accra the selected Senior Health Specialist or Senior Economist will work closely with the respective Task Team Members, from other GPs and the Human Development Program Leader. The Senior Health Specialist or Senior Economist will be subject to all World Bank regulations and guidelines applicable to staff in the respective country office.
• Graduate degrees (Master’s degree required, PhD or equivalent would be an asset) in public health, epidemiology, health economics, health business administration or professional degree (medicine). Candidates without a core qualification in at least one of these domains need not apply. Candidates with combined degrees will have an added advantage.
• Strong international experience or minimum of 8 years as senior specialist or senior program management positions in one or more of the following areas: health systems, health economics, public health program management, health financing, service delivery, epidemiology, monitoring and evaluation, operations research in health, results-based financing. Experience in two or more of these areas is advantageous.
• Prior experience in an international development institution (public, NGO or private) is preferred. Ability to function effectively in multi-disciplinary teams within a matrix environment is essential.
• A drive for results, including a proven track record of high standards/accountability for work products, meeting deadlines, an ability to prioritize tasks within his/her work program and strategies for working collectively with others on the team to deliver products of the highest caliber.
• Strong interpersonal and diplomatic skills.
• Fluency in French and English (excellent oral and written communication skills) is essential, with ability to prepare documents on complex subjects, speak and write persuasively, and present ideas clearly and concisely.
In addition to the above, the selected candidate is expected to demonstrate the following WBG core competencies:
• Integrative Skills – Understands core issues and knows where to get additional expertise when needed.
• Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena – Understands policy making process and role of the health sector in that process. Can find relevant information and examine similar policy questions in multiple regions and to distill operationally relevant recommendations and lessons from this analysis for clients.
• Policy Dialogue Skills – Identifies and assesses policy issues and communicates findings/points of view verbally and through reports and papers. Plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders as part of Bank teams.
• Client Orientation – Maintains client relationships in the face of conflicting demands or directions and provides evidence-based advice and solutions based on sound diagnosis and knowledge.
• Drive for Results – Identifies the needed resources to accomplish results involving multiple stakeholders and finds solutions to obstacles affecting key deliverables.
• Teamwork (Collaboration) and Inclusion – Shows leadership in ensuring the team stays organized and focused, and actively seeks and considers diverse ideas and approaches.
Poverty has no borders, neither does excellence. We succeed because of our differences and we continuously search for qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds from around the globe.