19 October 2017
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The mission of WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.
Vacancy Notice No: EURO/13/FT298
Title: Technical Officer - Social Determinants of Health and Equity
Grade: P4
Contract type: Fixed-term Appointment
Duration of contract:  One year with possibility of renewal (1) See Additional Information below
Date: 17 July 2013
Application Deadline: 20 August 2013 Vacancy declared unsuccessful
Duty Station:  Venice, Italy
Organization unit: EU Europe (EU) /
EURO Europe Regional Office (EU/RGO)
Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Wellbeing, Social Determinants of Health and Equity - Venice Office
Purpose of the Post:
As a core staff member of the Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Wellbeing - based in the WHO European Office for Investment for Health and Development ("Venice Office"), the incumbent will advise and provide technical support to European Member States on strengthening their national and sub-national health systems and overall governance capacity to promote population health by addressing the social determinants of health. Strengthened capacity in the WHO European Member States is needed to develop and implement policies, strategies and investments to address the cause and effect of the social and economic determinants of health and health inequities as part of a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities.

The mission of the WHO Regional Office for Europe is to support Member States in: (i) developing and sustaining their own health policies, health systems and public health programmes; (ii) working to prevent and overcome threats to health; (iii) anticipating future challenges; and (iv) advocating public health. All four aspects are implemented within the framework of the European Policy Health 2020.

The Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being (PCR) leads and coordinates the implementation of the Health 2020 - the European policy framework supporting action across government and society for health and well-being. It supports development of national and sub-national health policy in Member States and provides strategic and technical directions and leadership on governance for health and health equity. Key areas of responsibilities of the Division include social determinants of health, gender, human rights and vulnerabilities and the coordination of the Healthy Cities Network, as well as the Regions for Health Network.

The PCR Division has staff located in Copenhagen and in Venice (WHO European Office for Investment for Health and Development, Venice, Italy). The overall mission of the Division is a) to lead and coordinate the implementation of the new European Policy and Strategy for Health and Wellbeing - Health 2020 and the findings of the major studies that informed the development of Health 2020 (European Social Determinants and Health Divide Review; Governance for Health; and the Economics of Health Promotion) and b) to provide strategic directions and technical leadership in a number of programmatic areas that also have a strong relevance (cross-cutting) to the work of all technical divisions.

The programmes and technical areas of work that are the responsibility of the PCR Division are as follows:
  1. Health 2020 Implementation
  2. National and sub-national inter-sectoral Health Policies
  3. Governance for Health
  4. Social Determinants of Health
  5. Vulnerability and Health, Migrant and Roma Health
  6. Gender and health
  7. Human Rights and health
  8. Patients empowerment
  9. Public Health implications of Migration
  10. Urban Health and Healthy Cities Networks
  11. Regions for Health Network
  12. Coordination of Healthy Settings networks & Mainstreaming health promotion
Objective of the European Office for Investment for Health and Development (Venice Office)
As stated in the WHO Constitution, the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, and political belief, economic or social condition. Evidence presented to the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health and more recently, by the European Review of the Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide, clearly shows that processes and conditions that systematically prohibit or restrict population groups from economic, social, political, and cultural inclusion are strongly associated with inequities in health status and access to health services, including health promotion and prevention services.

The Memorandum of Agreement between WHO/EURO and the Italian Ministry of Health, regarding the establishment of the Venice Office, states both its mission and areas of activities. Specifically it states:

"The Venice Office shall, within its field of competence, help the Member States at national, regional and local level in implementing health investment strategies which places the promotion of health at the centre of human, social and economic development.

In operational terms the Venice Office performs two major functions:
  • The monitoring, review and systematisation of the increasing new research findings on the determinants (social and economic) of population health;
  • The provision of services, technical assistance to, and cooperation with, Member States to enhance their capacity (at national and sub-national level) to act upon the evidence of the social and economic determinants of health. This will better enable Member States to invest for health and position the promotion of health at the centre or their development agenda".
This area of work has become increasingly important given also the adoption of the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health (2011), the WHA Resolution 62.14 and the ongoing work in WHO/EURO on the new European Health Policy Framework - Health 2020 and is an integral part of the PCR unit's technical deliverables and mandate.
Description of duties:
Provide direct technical assistance to Ministries of Health in line with BCA agreements, analyze, strengthen and monitor health and broader government policies, systems and programmes to mitigate against widening social inequities in health, including but not limited to: (a) facilitate in-country policy dialogues and reviews based on European and international evidence for strengthening stewardship function with respect to mitigating against social inequities in health, in close collaboration with the Public Health team and other technical units in EURO, (b) provide technical expertise to countries (at national and sub-national levels) in utilizing Equity Focused Health Impact Assessment (EfHIA) tools and monitoring techniques for use in lower-, middle-, and high-income countries; and (c) design and implement capacity building events to support more coherent and systematic targeting and review of policies and programs in reduction of social inequities in health in higher, middle and lower income countries.

Contribute to the translation of findings of the WHO Commission of Social Determinants of Health and implementation of the WHA Resolution on SDH/ Equity relevant to countries within EURO region including but not limited to: (a) analyze final report of Priority Public health Conditions Knowledge Network (PPHCKN), the European Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide Review and related Task Group reports and identify implications for practice for countries within the EURO region; (b) facilitate in-country policy dialogues, reviews and capacity building events for strengthening priority public health programs and service delivery with respect to mitigating against social inequities in health, in close collaboration with other technical units in EURO; (c) deliver training and in-house capacity building, for mainstreaming consideration of SDH/ Equity into programmes and strategies of the Regional Office, and (d) follow up support including monitoring and evaluation.

Manage and implement Work Package 4 (Policy guidance on health inequalities and the social determinants of health) from the joint EC and WHO/EURO project " "WHO Review of Social Determinants and the Health Divide - 2011 52 01", with emphasis on ensuring that deliverables are submitted in a timely manner; contributing to statutory technical narrative reports with respect to Work Package 4, as well as being the point of contact with technical focal points within the EC and EU Member States for technical issues as well as for reporting purposes with respect to Work Package 4.

Support supervisors in developing EURO responses on social determinants of health and equity. Provide technical inputs to the new European Health Policy Framework - Health 2020 policy process with respect to the priority public health conditions and health equity.

Perform other related duties as required.
Essential: University degree in social sciences, humanities and post-graduate degree in public health, social development or public policy with specialization in health equity and social determinants of health.
Desirable: PhD in social sciences or in public health.
Functional Skills and Knowledge:
  • Extensive knowledge of the current evidence and approaches to tackling social determinants of health and health equity including but not limited to the work of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) and related Knowledge Networks, as well as the European Review of the Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide and related Task Groups.
  • Proven ability to understand and translate complex conceptual frameworks and evidence into understandable language, including presentations, written documents, and policy relevant Technical Assistance for non-specialists.
  • Knowledge of WHO European Member States' approaches on this issue - particularly national and sub-national health and development strategies and initiatives.
  • Extensive knowledge and skills in approaches to strengthening country policies for health equity.
  • Proven ability in approaches to capacity building suitable for policy makers, planners and practitioners in public health and related sectors.
  • Knowledge of WHO policies and practices is essential.
Competencies: see WHO Global Competencies model at
  1. Producing results: Produces high quality results and workable solutions that meet client needs: the expected standards of services delivered are high and services have to match the needs of the health ministries and governments. Demonstrates a systematic and flexible approach to work in order to ensure deliverables are timely and relevant to clients needs. Demonstrates capacity for proactive problem solving as evidenced by seeking and implementing solutions when delivering complex multi-agency multi-disciplinary projects.
  2. Communicating in a credible and effective way: Expresses him/herself clearly and effectively in oral and written forms while providing policy and technical advice to institutions and governments; ensures that relevant information is shared. Ability to translate the concepts and evidence for addressing social determinants of health to reduce health inequities and related issues into understandable language which is credible to different target audiences including policy makers and practitioners who are non-specialists. Excellent writing ability, as reflected by a history of high quality technical reports and presentations on topics of relevance. Proven ability to negotiate with counterparts in Member States and other organizations.
  3. Knowing and managing yourself: Takes responsibility for own work in a high-pressure atmosphere in which specific direction may not always be available. Ability to tolerate and effectively manage significant uncertainties in work programme. Remains productive under pressure and has track record of self-direction and problem solving in managing projects under own responsibility.
  4. Building and promoting partnerships across the Organization and beyond: Demonstrated ability to build and maintain mutually beneficial work relationships and alliances inside and outside the Organization, creating synergies to improve results. Ability to develop good working relations with people with a wide range of backgrounds and perspective. Encourages people from different parts of the Organization to work together. Builds and maintains mutually beneficial work relationships with relevant staff in the immediate team and other divisional teams and with those from other international agencies, WHO Collaborating Centres and Global Health Initiatives.
  5. Fostering integration and teamwork: Works collaboratively with team members to achieve results: the candidate selected will be part of one or multiple teams, and will need to show that he/she can function productively as a team member in order to contribute to the collective success of WHO in delivering high quality relevant services to clients. Ability to identify potential for conflict early and take actions to facilitate its resolution. Ability to work constructively in a team, including seeking and giving appropriate feedback in a manner which accommodates diversities of opinion and expertise and which encourages cooperation, and builds rapport and confidence among team members.
Essential: At least seven years of experience (of which at least 2 years at the international level) in the field of population health policy. At least three years experience in support of policy analysis and development in the area of health equity and social determinants at national and international levels, complemented by in-depth experience in providing direct technical assistance to Member States to address the social determinants of health and health equity, specifically in the areas of intersectoral action and public health programme development in countries.
Desirable: Three to five years of experience in WHO/UN or development assistance organizations in the above field and/or in project management and field-work activities to support institutional strengthening in the areas of health and development. Three to five years' experience working with countries within the WHO European region.
Essential: Excellent knowledge of English with a working knowledge of another WHO official language -and/or EURO official language (French, German or Russian).
Desirable: Working knowledge of Italian.
Additional Information:
(1) Extension of appointment is subject to a) satisfactory performance, b) continued need for the function, and c) availability of funds.

WHO has an on-line recruitment system, therefore ONLY applications submitted on-line at will be accepted.

All on-line applications are automatically acknowledged. If you do not receive an e-mail within 24 hours confirming receipt of your application, you should verify your on-line profile. In case of repeated difficulties, contact by e-mail indicating the vacancy title and number in the subject line.

A written test may be used as a screening tool. Long-listed candidates may be contacted to sit a written test or presentation prior to final short-listing. This does not preclude a written test or presentation prior to final interview.

Similar positions at the same grade may be filled using this vacancy notice.

Annual salary: (Net of tax)
USD 67,483 at single rate
USD 72,467 with primary dependants
Post Adjustment: 64.3 % of the above figure(s). This percentage is to be considered as indicative since variations may occur each month either upwards or downwards due to currency exchange rate fluctuations or inflation.

This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level.

Online applications are strongly encouraged to enable WHO to store your profile in a permanent database. Please visit WHO's e-Recruitment website at: The system provides instructions for online application procedures.
All applicants are encouraged to apply online as soon as possible after the vacancy has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the vacancy announcement.

WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual. Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.

Vacancy declared unsuccessful

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