National Professional Officer in Medicines, Vaccines, and Medical Devices

Under the supervision of the WHO Representative in South Africa, and in collaboration and other WHO professional staff in CO, IST, and AFRO, the purpose of the post is to provide technical assistance in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies for essential medicines, vaccines and biologicals, and medical devices, and laboratory systems, with special attention to regulation, quality, and safety and access in South Africa and will perform the following duties:

  • Provide technical expertise in regulation, quality control, quality assurance, and pharmacopoeia, counterfeiting, and policies related to medicines, vaccines, medical devices, laboratory, and traditional medicines;
  • Disseminate global and regional commitments and best practices, identify their application in South Africa, and develop country specific and locally appropriate action plans for implementation, including for WHO regional committee resolutions and WHA resolutions and action plans;
  • Assist in the identification and coordination of relevant expert technical advisory support within and external to WHO for all aspects of essential medicines, vaccines, and medical devices, including policies, regulation, lab, quality assurance, pricing, and procurement;
  • Establish network of relevant technical partnerships within government, regulatory authorities, academic, private sector, non-government organizations, and international agencies;
  • Maintain close and frequent collaboration with the Department of Health, national regulatory authorities, other government agencies, other regulatory bodies, donor agencies, external support agencies, AFRO and WHO HQ technical advisors;
  • Assist and facilitate required technical support for the health care reform process in the area of medicines, among others, selection, pricing, financing and reimbursement, procurement, supply and management etc.
  • Assist in the preparation, work plans, implementation, and monitoring of projects, in close cooperation with involved national counterparts. Manage and oversee complex technical activities required for projects in advancing evidence based policies for medicines, vaccines, and medical devices;
  • Support the development of HSS in pharmaceutical area by facilitating communication with potential donors in process of proposal development, grant negotiation, project implementation and outcome demonstration;
  • Monitor all aspects of work plan progress and implementation and undertake start-up, supervision, review and other periodic missions, identify operational and financial problems and find workable solutions;
  • Support selection of and work with manufacturers producing selected products (both active ingredients and finished products), under the WHO prequalification and other training programs;
  • Support to the identification of structural barriers, to achieve international standards in development of specific products and in the development of policies and programs aligned with global and regional commitments;
  • Support preparation of technical reports and publications, demonstrating the outcome of regular budget and extra budget programs and assist in the collection of data, preparation, and presentation of technical and managerial materials in relevant areas of medicines policies;
  • Facilitate communication with Ministry of Health, non-governmental agencies, universities, and private sector; within WHO at CO, AFRO, WHO HQ; and with funding agencies; and keep WHO up to date on government policy initiatives;
  • Collaborate as a team member with other staff working on health systems strengthening, and develop collaborations with other WHO technical teams and external agencies in related work;
  • Collaborate with relevant government institutions, non-governmental organizations, donors, external support agencies, bilateral agencies and other UN organizations on technical activities and coordination activities;
  • Draft and assist in the collection of data, preparation, and presentation of technical and managerial in relevant areas of policy, program and project activities Contribute to the preparation of reports, policy notes, project documents and submissions to government for use in discussions with government, UN health partners and other agencies and organizations;
  • Participate fully in country office routine meetings and contribute to routine reporting requirements, and media communications and reports;
  • Provide technical expertise for strengthening laboratory capacities (infrastructures, norms, standardization of equipment and methods) and facilitate collaboration with the South Africa National Blood Transfusion Service (SANBS) which is a WHO collaborating centre for blood safety and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) of South Africa which organize the External Quality Assessment programmes;
  • Perform other related duties, as required.

Knowledge / Qualifications

Knowledge and Skills

  • Knowledge of and experience in planning, project management, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of various pharmaceutical, vaccines, and medical devices programmes.
  • Experience and proficiency in working with government and other partners in an effective and culturally competent manner.
  • Proven effective verbal and written communication.
  • Capacity to work strategically and under tight deadlines on a results-oriented basis.
  • Ability to develop innovative approaches and solutions, and solve problems.
  • Ability to demonstrate effective interpersonal skills by working harmoniously as a member of a team, adapting to diverse educational, socio-political and cultural backgrounds and maintaining a high standard of personal conduct.
  • Basic computer skills including ability to utilize the standard Microsoft Office programs

Education and Special Training

Essential: University Degree in medicine, pharmacy, biological sciences, or other health-related fields and equivalent professional training

Desirable: Post graduate qualifications in pharmaceutical sciences or related fields

Experience (length and nature)

Essential: Minimum of 5 years of professional or academic experience in related program areas, preferably in areas related to essential medicines, pharmaceuticals, or vaccines at national level

Desirable: Experience in working with private sector and regulatory agencies an advantage

Other Skills (e.g. IT): 

Demonstrated ability to write technical reports in a concise manner.

Facility in utilizing computer applications, including word processing, powerpoint, email, and excel among others.


Essential: Excellent spoken and written English

Desirable: Knowledge of French and Portuguese.


Grade: NO-C

Duty Station:  WHO Country Office, Pretoria, South Africa

Closing Date:  28 February, 2013


Applications accompanied by detailed Curriculum Vitae and copies of certificates, diplomas and testimonials should be addressed under confidential cover to:

The WHO Representative

World Health Organization, Metropark Building, 351 Francis Baard Street,

P O Box 13113



Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. World Health Organization is Non-Smoking Environment.

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