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Technical Officer, Internal Liaison, Commission on Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization

Objectives of the Programme

In recent decades global public health has achieved success in improving population level health. Unfortunately, the result has not affected all people equally: health inequalities between and within countries are unacceptably large and continue to grow. A vast body of research exists that demonstrates that social factors, which are shaped by one's relative position in society, account for the bulk of health disparities. In other words, poor people and those from socially disadvantaged groups get sicker and die sooner than people in more privileged social positions. Action to address ill health will continue to waste resources and leave many of the most vulnerable without better health prospects, as long as the focus remains on symptoms and fails also to address the root causes of morbidity and mortality.

Because this holds true throughout the world, a bold change in public health strategies is needed to reverse this trend and work towards health equity. The key to success is the integration of social determinants of health as a fundamental approach to developing effective strategies towards improving priority programs and health systems. The Director-General at WHO has announced his leadership and support for this approach and is setting-up a global Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH). The CSDH, over three years, will set the foundation for sustained processes to profile and integrate the social determinants of health within public policy and practice. The Commission's mission is comprised of the following four tracks of work:

1- Learning: by consolidating and promoting the use of knowledge that demonstrates the imperative for action on the social determinants of health and that informs both policy and effective, equitable interventions on these determinants

2- Advocacy: by identifying and promoting opportunities for action on SDH with policy makers, implementing agencies and society

3- Action: by catalyzing processes that inform and strengthen actions to integrate knowledge on social determinants within public health policy and practice

4- Leadership: by supporting the public, political, technical and institutional leaders to advocate for and deliver on the desired change in understanding and action

Chances of successful policy impact at country level of the Commission's work will be increased by making full use of WHO's credibility as a global advocate. For example, meetings of the WHA, Executive Board, Regional Committees provide channels for messaging on social determinants, and the Director-General and other leaders in the Organization have begun to integrate social determinants into their public communication and policy dialogue with Member States and partners.

Description of duties

In close collaboration with and under the strategic guidance of the Equity Team Leader, Evidence and Information for Policy Cluster, serve as the liaison between the Secretariat of the CSDH and WHO. The primary task is to develop a strategy for all levels of WHO, including regions, country and headquarters, to inform about and support the Commission's goal to facilitate the incorporation of a social determinants of health intervention/approach into planning, policy, and technical work within WHO. This position will be based in Geneva with frequent international travel. His/her responsibilities will include, but not be limited to

Inclusion of Social Determinants of Health (SDH) into WHO

* Develop strategy to inform, maintain updated and engage all levels of the WHO structure in the CSDH; explicit tasks and timeline should be outlined.

* Work towards including SDH into WHO's medium to long-term organizational planning documents as a strategy to imbed SDH into the organization's approach to health and ensure continuity beyond the life of the Commission.

* Design a plan for holding regional consultations (i.e., timeline of meetings, participants, agenda items, etc).

* Develop and coordinate the work plan of an internal WHO Reference Group which has representation from different programs, regions and country offices. The purpose of this group will be to interface continually with the Commission, to advise the Commission on political opportunities and potential obstacles within WHO and to design an agenda with concrete goals and action for translating the Commission's recommendations into improved WHO programs and policies.

Knowledge management tools for accomplishing the above tasks

* In collaboration with Knowledge Management Sharing (KMS) and the CSDH's IT coordinator, establish mechanisms (information-technology based, staff exchanges, newsletter, etc.) to ensure the bi-directorial flow of information and knowledge about the Commission's activities and learning's within and across WHO HQ, Regional and Country Offices.

* Coordinate the internal dissemination of the Commission's documentation and recommendations on how WHO can improve its own strategic orientation and technical programming to integrate more fully a social determinants of health.

Key deliverables

Including, but not limited to the following:

1) WHO Reference Group established and approved by Director-General WHO

2) Regional consultation plan developed that includes timeline of meetings (agreed upon with Regional Office counterparts), participants, agenda items, etc.

3) General strategy for involving and informing WHO of CSDH work and outputs developed

Qualifications Required


A Master's Degree in management science


1) Communication

* Proven ability to communicate clearly in both written and oral form present on topics of social determinants of health equity and social justice

* Diplomacy and tact

2) Professionalism

* Demonstrated professional competence and mastery of subject matter

* Conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results

* Show persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; Remain calm in stressful situations

3) Team work

* Ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with people in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity

* Proven ability to foster collaboration and team work with partners involved in the Commission work

4) Leadership

* Demonstrate ability to set clear goals and ensure that they are achieved

5) Vision

* Ability to identify desired outcomes and link broad goals with practical action

* Demonstrate initiative, creativity and resourcefulness


* Minimum of 5-7 years' work experience, preferably in the development and coordination of implementing communication strategies

* Excellent knowledge of WHO policies and internal relations and proven ability to maneuver through the organization for success

* Knowledge of social determinants of health literature and country examples


Excellent knowledge of English and a working knowledge of at least one additional UN language would be an asset.

Annual salary (Net of tax)

NES 59,132 USD at a single rate

Post Adjustment: 65.90 % of the above figures. 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.

A written test may be used as a form of pre-screening.

Applications from women and from nationals of non- and under-represented Member States are particularly encouraged. Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual. Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted. 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. Online applications are strongly encouraged.

WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers

[Source: SDOH listserv,]