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Head, Preparedness and Response at the African Union (AU)

Posted on Fri 01st Oct, 2021 - --- (0 comments)

The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).  We are an Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.

We are recruiting to fill the position of:

Job Title: Head, Preparedness and Response

Requisition ID: 725
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Reports to: Director
Directorate / Department: Africa CDC
Division: Preparedness and Response
Number of Direct Reports: 4
Number of Indirect Reports: 0
Job Grade: P5
Contract Type: Regular

Purpose of Job

  • The Head of Division, Preparedness and Response reports to the Director, Africa CDC and is responsible for leading and coordinating the public health preparedness and response programme.
  • The Head oversees a division composed of multi-disciplinary teams charged with carrying out specific technical work in developing, implementing, maintaining and evaluating the systems and tools employed by the Division to carry out Africa CDC’s pandemic preparedness and response work as outlined in the strategic plan.
  • To build and maintain a continent-wide pandemic preparedness and response framework, the Head and staff will work through a variety of pathways including the Africa CDC Regional Collaborating Centres (RCCs), and in collaboration with Member States, their National Public Health Institutes and other technical partners as appropriate.
  • The Division will also build related technical capacity through training and delivery of technical assistance through the RCCs and regional integrated surveillance and laboratory networks (RISLNET).

Main Functions

  • Manage and supervise employees within the division with regard to the department goals objectives including performance evaluation.
  • Design strategies and policies consistent with the Department’s goal in order to address the pertinent issues in the relevant area.
  • Contribute to the development of the departmental business continuity plan and ensure implementation at division level
  • Manage risk within the division and recommend mitigation strategies
  • Design and plan policy programs to achieve the strategies.
  • Develop new and existing activities as components of the strategies and policies.
  • Address problems in arising to current approaches to relevant area.
  • Engage stakeholders within Members States and RECs in designing and implementing strategies.
  • Represent the organisation and explain its position at conferences.
  • Mobilise funding from all donors to use to execute strategies and activities.
  • Contribute to the preparation of periodic financial and budget execution reports and monitor budget execution at division level.
  • Ensure creation of an inspiring work environment to enable staff development and professional progression.

Specific Responsibilities
The Head of Division, Preparedness and Response, Africa CDC shall:

  • Lead and coordinate efforts to develop Africa CDC policies, guidance, standards and tools to guide building of regional and national capacities and systems for emergency preparedness and response. Coordinate internally with the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), particularly, with the African Security Force, and externally with other partners as appropriate;
  • Lead and coordinate the establishment of functional national public health emergency operation centres (EOC), as part of National Public Health Institutes (NPHI), and coordinate delivery of appropriate technical assistance and training to RCCs, and NPHI’s as appropriate;
  • Lead and facilitate advocacy for countries to develop pandemic preparedness and response plans;
  • Coordinate delivery of technical support in conducting country assessments of preparedness and response capacity, and subsequent development and testing of multi-hazard and multi-sectoral preparedness and response plans for public health emergencies at national, regional, and continental levels;  
  • Lead efforts to build, and coordinate the development of surge capacity at national, regional, and continental levels that integrates capabilities of NPHIs and RCCs. Also establish and maintain Regional Response Teams and strengthen and expand the capacities of the African Volunteer Health Corps (AVoHC);
  • Lead and coordinate efforts to develop Africa CDC legal frameworks, technical standards and tools, and operational platforms and policies, guidance, mechanisms to guide and facilitate the emergency deployment of materials and staff, establish and maintain stockpiles of equipment and supplies, and build capacity for rapid deployment, monitoring and evaluation systems and other response requirements;  
  • Facilitate and promote sustained partnerships for multi-sectoral coordination and collaboration;
  • Network with other global and continental public health agencies to monitor health security threats;
  • Oversee and guide development of peer review research in pandemic preparedness and response or related health science for publication.  Also directly prepares manuscripts for peer review publication in scientific journals.  
  • Represent the agency on behalf of the Director in technical meetings, conferences or similar venues where the agency seeks to be recognized to advance its mission and strategic goals.
  • Under the direction of the designated Africa CDC Incident Manager, coordinate technical services delivery in support of Africa CDC Emergency Response activities as appropriate and assigned.
  • Performs other duties as assigned by the Director.  

Academic Requirements and Relevant Experience

  • Master’s Degree in a relevant discipline such as, but not limited to Public Health, Basic Health Science (e.g., Biology, Chemistry), Epidemiology, Health Services Research and related fields.

Experience and Knowledge Requirements are below:

  • Combination of academic training and at least twelve (12) years of relevant experience* in public health programme management, with special emphasis on emergency preparedness and response. At least seven (7) experience years at managerial level with wide responsibilities to lead and manage national, regional or global public health programmes, out of which five (5) years should be in a supervisory role.   
  • Expert knowledge and relevant experience in management of public health programmes within a government agency or academic institution in Africa.
  • Extensive knowledge of public health policies and regulations, with particular emphasis on pandemic preparedness and response.
  • Experience in leading/coordinating/implementing public health programmes in Africa, across different geographic regions.  Direct experience in leading pandemic preparedness and response activities and programmes is desired;
  • Broad experience in collaborating with programmatic and technical partners and in managing multiple tasks and complex projects is expected.
  • Comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the operations of National Public Health Institutes and affiliated public health programme and research networks.
  • Demonstrated experience and proven ability to effectively serve and represent organizational public health programme interests as a member of a scientific review committee, study group, public health task group, or comparable groups delegated responsibility for reviewing and developing public health scientific or programme policies, procedures and guidelines.
  • Record of high-quality, peer-reviewed and/or outcomes research publications in the area of public health emergency response and/or epidemiology and surveillance.
  • Strong scientific leadership with proven skills in facilitation and coordination of public health pandemic preparedness and response and/or epidemiology and surveillance programmes and research activities, and motivating and developing people.
  • Scientific, technical and managerial expertise and leadership in the development and enhancement of public health pandemic preparedness and response and/or epidemiology and surveillance programmes and workforce capacity building in Africa, across different geographic regions.
  • Relevant experience is defined as implementing/coordinating public health pandemic preparedness and response and/or epidemiology and surveillance programmes or other public health programme and/or health sciences research programme.

Required Skills
Functional Skills:

  • Mastery of the theories, concepts, principles, practices, methods and techniques of public health programme administration and other aspects of the field of public health.
  • Mastery of a wide range of qualitative and/or quantitative methods for the assessment and improvement of programme effectiveness or the improvement of complex public health management processes and systems.
  • Skills in the analysis and subsequent response to scientific trends in emerging infectious diseases, and to develop, apply and adjust disease surveillance strategies and policies to further agency mission, goals and objectives.
  • Skills and abilities to lead people toward meeting the organization’s vision, mission, and goals and provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.
  • Strong leadership skills and presence at the executive level, with a proven ability to problem solve, communicate complex issues orally and in writing, and to work cooperatively and diplomatically with diverse stakeholders.
  • Excellent technical expertise and experience in the management of complex, public health programmes.
  • Comprehensive knowledge and expert skill in application of planning, budgeting, assessment, and evaluation techniques.  
  • Expertise in planning, organizing, and leading teams of scientific and technical experts, senior programme representatives, and extramural consultants in complex projects including programmatic analyses, evaluation, and policy, programme and tools development and implementation.  
  • Highest level of interpersonal and communication skills (oral and written), tact, and sensitivity in the performance of duties.
  • Outstanding representational skills and experience to interact effectively with senior-level officials within the organization in other key stakeholders in both public and private-sector organizations.
  • Excellent negotiation skills.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of strategic planning, assessment and evaluation processes.
  • Demonstrated ability with regard to computer skills, including office administration and statistical software applications and online digital information systems.
  • Proficiency in one of the African Union working languages (Arabic, English, French, Portuguese or Spanish) is required. Knowledge of one or more of the other AU working languages would be an added advantage.

Personal Abilities:

  • Ability to manage complex operations and teams; ability to apply effective leadership and interpersonal skills through use of strategic thinking, team and project leadership, decision-making skills and personnel development – including proven skills in supervision, team building, and motivating and developing people.
  • Highly developed diplomatic, representational and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to effectively communicate both orally and by writing, programme goals, and objectives, including scientific justification of research and programmes and specific requirements.
  • Ability to effectively delegate work to subordinate staff.
  • Ability to operate in a multicultural environment.
  • High level of autonomy at work, yet with profound team-spirit.
  • Adaptive, patient, resilient and flexible.
  • Pro-active and solutions oriented.

Leadership Competencies:

  • Strategic Perspective
  • Developing Others
  • Change Management
  • Managing Risk.

Core Competencies:

  • Building relationships
  • Foster Accountability Culture
  • Learning Orientation
  • Communicating with impact.

Functional Competencies:

  • Conceptual thinking
  • Job Knowledge and information sharing
  • Drive for result
  • Fosters Innovation.

Tenure Of Appointment

  • The appointment will be made on a regular term contract for a period of three (3) years, of which the first twelve months shall be considered as a probationary period. Thereafter, the contract will be for a period of two years renewable, subject to satisfactory performance and deliverables.


  • Proficiency in one of the AU working languages (Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish) and fluency in another AU language is an added advantage.

Indicative basic salary of US$ 50,746.00 (P5 Step1) per annum plus other related entitlements e.g. Post adjustment (46% of basic salary), Housing allowance US$ 26,208.00 (per annum), and education allowance (100% of tuition and other education-related expenses for every eligible dependent up to a maximum of US$ 10,000.00 per child per annum), for internationally recruited staff and a maximum of $3,300 per child per annum for locally recruited staff.

Application Closing Date
1st November, 2021.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online

Gender Mainstreaming

  • The AU Commission is an equal opportunity employer and qualified women are strongly encouraged to apply.


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