Public Health Specialist, Maseru, Lesotho, Lesotho, Lesotho, Lesotho

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Public Health Specialist, Maseru, Lesotho, Lesotho, Lesotho 
Closing date: Thursday, 22 February 2024


Description of assignment title: Public Health Specialist

Assignment country: Lesotho

Expected start date: 03/01/2024

Sustainable Development Goal: 3. Good health and well-being

Volunteer category: National UN Volunteer Specialist

Host entity: WHO

Type: Onsite

Duration: 12 months (with possibility of extension)

Number of assignments: 1

Duty stations: Maseru


Mission and objectives

Founded in 1948, WHO is the United Nations agency that connects nations, partners and people to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable – so everyone, everywhere can attain the highest level of health. WHO leads global efforts to expand universal health coverage. We direct and coordinate the world’s response to health emergencies. And we promote healthier lives – from pregnancy care through old age. Our Triple Billion targets outline an ambitious plan for the world to achieve good health for all, using science-based policies and programmes.


WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. The organization uses a six-point agenda which seek to contribute to addressing global health related policy gaps. The mission of the WHO Lesotho Country Office is to promote the attainment of the highest possible level of health for all people living in Lesotho through collaboration with the government and other partners in health development and the provision of technical and logistic support to country programmes. The current COVID-19 pandemic situation with established local transmission and spread in rural areas, there is need for immediate targeted action to contain the outbreak. The country has reported a cumulative total of 1,961 COVID-19 cases. The health system is faced with many challenges to effectively manage the outbreak of this magnitude. Human resource capacity within and outside the heather is constrained due to limited production and brain drain. The national outbreak response currently focuses on the public health interventions particularly those relevant to personal and hand hygiene, cough etiquette, hand shaking and social distancing. Community-based interventions are being rolled out through the existing community structures to assist districts in tailoring interventions to the local needs. However, there exist substantial human resource gaps for an effective outbreak response to be undertaken. Development Partners currently supporting the national response include the UN, CDC, USAID, PEPFAR, World Bank, Global Fund, GAVI, CHAI, PIH, PSI. WHO plays a partner coordination role and provision of technical support to the Ministry of Health to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies with public health consequences, including through ensuring that the public is provided with as much relevant health information as possible, using different mediums of communication. WHO continues to work around the clock to provide technical assistance to the MoH.

Task description

Under the supervision of the WHO Representative, the UNV will provide technical support and advice to the ministry of health in the successful implementation of the district response plan focusing on the nine pillars aligned to the national plan. The incumbent will work closely with all key stakeholders, UN entities and other programme officers to ensure the implementation of the national plan for effective response and Post COVID-19 recovery

 Support the MoH in setting up and implementing a comprehensive COVID-19 contact tracing process and provide on-site support in responding to challenges encountered by contact tracing teams;
 Support implementation of infection, prevention and control interventions in health facilities and other institutions;

 Work with relevant officers and committees in monitoring adherence to IPC guidelines.

 Support data collection, analysis and reporting on health care workers infected with COVID-19;
 Support implementation of the clinical care pathway and provide technical assistance to implement the case management guideline;
 Promote use of the available response guidelines and SOPs to ensure the application of common approaches, tools and standards;
 Support the districts in ensuring continuity of essential health services during the response to COVID-19;

 Support MOH in coordination of field operations (RRT) including receiving alert and timely deployment of team for sample collection, availing logistical supplies, disinfection, transportation, isolation and treatment;
 In consultation with the wider UN, provide strategic planning and foresight support to Government of Lesotho in development of Post COVID-19 recovery packages designed to “build back better” thereby reducing the likelihood of future shocks and increase resilience Support WHO Representative (chair of the COVID-19 Health Partners group) in agenda setting; preparations of meetings and report writing;

 Support the COVID-19 coordinator in coherent monitoring.

Eligibility criteria

Age: 27 – 80


Candidate must be a national or legal resident of the country of assignment.


Required experience

3 years of experience in Public Health.

Previous experience in working in disaster, communicable disease outbreak, or other emergency settings;

 Working experience in Lesotho with multiple partners including Ministry of Health, UN or a reputable international NGO will be an added advantage;
 Good understanding of health delivery, health systems and emergency context, policies, planning and management issues;
 Experience with testing and contact tracing for COVID-19, TB, STIs, HIV, or other infectious diseases a big plus;
 Excellent leadership and coordination skills and capabilities with high-level of personal motivation and initiative;

 Demonstrated experience working collaboratively, fostering and maintaining partnerships across institutions or sectors.

Area(s) of expertise


Driving license


English, Level: Fluent, Required Sesotho, Level: Working knowledge, Desirable

Required education level

Bachelor degree or equivalent in Medicine/Environmental Health/Nursing or Health related or a Post-graduate Degree in Public Health/epidemiology/health related field

Competencies and values

Adaptability and Flexibility, Communication, Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity, Working in Teams

Other information

Living conditions and remarks

Lesotho is a landlocked country and entirely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. It is 30,355 km2 in size with a population of 2.2 million. About one quarter of the country has altitudes of between 1,500 and 2,000 metres. Because of its altitude, Lesotho remains cooler throughout the year than other regions at the same latitude. Most of the rain falls as summer thunderstorms. Maseru and surrounding lowlands often reach 30 °C in summer. However, due to current climate change conditions, the weather conditions keep changing such that there may be four seasons in one day at times. The rural highlands are less developed, and winters are severe with heavy snowfalls that often cut off the population from access to basic social services such as health. Lesotho is a lower middle-income country whose economy is based on diamonds exported all over the world and water sold to South Africa, manufacturing, agriculture, livestock, and to some extent the earnings of Labourers employed in South Africa. About 40% of the population lives below the international poverty-line of US$1.25 a day. The constitution of Lesotho protects basic civil liberties, including freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of the press, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of religion. Maseru is the capital and the largest city in the country with a population of approximately 500,000 people. Basic goods and services including health facilities, public transport, telecommunication and banking services and educational facilities are readily available. The main airport is King Moshoeshoe III about 15 km away from the city. As this is a national UN Volunteer assignment, the UN Volunteer will be responsible for arranging his/her own housing and other living essentials. UNVs receive the below entitlements:

 A monthly Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA) of LSL15780.74
 A once of $400 entry lumpsum;
 Medical and Annual leave;
 Comprehensive insurance;
 Access to all the learning platforms;
 A once of exit lumpsum of LSL 15780.74 at the end of your assignment.

Inclusivity statement

United Nations Volunteers is an equal opportunity programme that welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, care protected characteristics. As part of their adherence to the values of UNV, all UN Volunteers commit themselves to combat any form of discrimination, and to promoting respect for human rights and individual dignity, without distinction of a person’s race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.

Note on Covid-19 vaccination requirements

Selected candidates for certain occupational groups may be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in line with the applicable host entity policy

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