Senior Program Officer, Polio Africa (LTE)

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Job opening for a Senior Program Officer, Polio Africa (LTE) at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Position Summary & Responsibilities

The foundation is currently recruiting a Senior Program Officer to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s efforts to control and end outbreaks of circulating Vaccine Deprived Polioviruses (VDPV) in the Africa region. The officers will work in close collaboration with GPEI partners – WHO, UNICEF and CDC – to design, implement and assess outbreak strategies in high-priority countries. The officers will also support foundation-supported activities to strengthen routine immunization in select countries.

Key Duties And Responsibilities

  • Field-based monitoring and assessment of foundation-supported grants and contracts for polio outbreak response in the Africa region, with a special focus on East and Southern African countries. Specifically, the officers will work with grantees and consultants to support effective implementation of outbreak vaccination and surveillance activities in priority countries. This will include the development of informed and timely risk assessments, costed outbreak budget plans, effective field-based training of health and surveillance officers, and comprehensive vaccination strategies.
  • Work directly with foundation grantees to ensure rapid establishment of Emergency Operations Centers in select countries in the Africa region, and the deployment of sub-national field-based consultants supporting surveillance strengthening and planned vaccination campaigns. The officers will also support grantees funded by the foundation to innovate and test novel means of improving field operations in the polio program, including the use of e-money platforms to overcome bottlenecks and delays in fund management.
  • Monitor polio surveillance and vaccination efforts in outbreak countries in coordination with other GPEI partners, providing feedback and technical advice on outbreak campaigns, intensified surveillance efforts and routine immunization strengthening. Participate in GPEI-led outbreak review and assessments as required.
  • Support novel OPV introduction in close coordination with other GPEI partners, with a focus on Francophone countries. Identify and source technical support, contractors and grantees that can accelerate country readiness for nOPV introduction, including enhanced surveillance and safety monitoring requirements. Engage and advocate with national authorities to ensure appropriate adherence to Early Use Licensing requirements for nOPV introduction. Monitor field implementation of nOPV during outbreak response, and provide feedback to sub-national and national immunization program officers and national authorities on best practices, challenges and areas for improvement.
  • Solicit and review letters of inquiry & grant proposals; provide clear, concise & insightful written analyses & recommendations for funding, including drafting & editing proposal summaries & progress reports for existing grants for review by Foundation leadership.
  • This role potentially manages consultants and contractors, tracks deliverables and communicates performance expectations, gives and seeks feedback, measures progress and holds people accountable, and recognizes achievement and lessons learned.


  • Advanced degree in epidemiology and public health preferred.
  • Experience in polio eradication/vaccine delivery/public health programs in Africa, with an emphasis on program management, emergency response and program operations.
  • Fluent English-language skills, oral, reading and writing, is a requirement for the position; Portuguese and Spanish language skills an advantage
  • Ability to prioritize, focus and achieve results in a fast paced and complex environment.
  • Ability to assess and manage the risks inherent in complex bodies of work.
  • Passion for critical thinking and developing creative approaches to analyze and solve problems that block progress.
  • Strong record of engagement with GPEI partners (e.g. CDC, UNICEF, WHO, Rotary, etc.) and country-level familiarity with polio funding and planning processes, goal setting, implementation and evaluation of activities.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with diverse stakeholders and teams including elected officials, bureaucrats, public health specialists, business analysts, program implementers and developing country stakeholders.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and ability to communicate with a broad and diverse audience.
  • Experience in developing and managing strong partnerships and relationships inside and outside the organization, managing conflicts, and building consensus.
  • Ability to travel up to 50% internationally.

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Senior Program Officer, Polio Africa (LTE)


Tuesday 19th May 2020


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