National Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (RMNCH) Advocacy Specialist
Roles and responsibilities
The National RMNCH Advocacy Specialist will be based in Abuja, Nigeria and support the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and all partners engaged in reducing maternal, newborn and child deaths in Nigeria. S/he will work in partnership with all national-level stakeholders and other national-level, senior MCSP technical staff to develop, implement, and monitor the progress of advocacy activities towards this goal.
The National RMNCH Advocacy Specialist will work under the leadership of MCSP’s National Child Health Advisor based in Abuja, and in coordination with MCSP’s National Immunization Technical Advisor, National Newborn Health Advisor, and other MCSP/Nigeria technical staff supporting efforts to end preventable maternal, newborn, and childhood deaths in Nigeria.
• Inform communication and advocacy strategies at the national and state levels, as relevant, to better coordinate MNCH prevention and treatment initiatives. This includes advocacy and communication around the introduction of pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines; strengthening routine immunization (RI) systems; supporting the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to facilitate and improve rollout of the national policy of Primary Health Care Under One Roof in MCSP intervention states, scale-up of ORS and zinc, the rollout of malaria bed nets and rapid diagnostic tests, and the management of pneumonia with dispersible amoxicillin tablets.
• Engage and support stakeholders to develop, implement, and monitor the progress of an advocacy strategy to influence national and/or state policy around preventing maternal, newborn, and child deaths, including through the use of dispersible amoxicillin for managing childhood pneumonia, and by promoting task shifting in dispensing these drugs.
• Engage and support stakeholders to update existing family planning documents (policy, guidelines, protocols, communication briefs) in line with the recently released 2015 Medical Eligibility Criteria (MEC) guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO). Implement and monitor the progress of an advocacy strategy to influence and bring about change in national and/or state policy around postpartum contraception, including postpartum intrauterine device (PPIUD) and postpartum implant insertion.
• Engage and support stakeholders to harmonize existing quality of care (QoC) approaches for MNCH in Nigeria, in line with the recent QoC framework released by WHO. Implement and monitor the progress of an advocacy strategy to influence and bring about change in national and/or state policy around quality of MNCH care.
• Work with the FMOH to update/develop MNCH/FP policy documents for presentation to and approval by the National Council of Health, and for subsequent rollout in selected MCSP states.
• Coordinate and partner with key stakeholders (e.g. professional associations, the Integrated Community Case Management Task Force) to explore responsible strategies for community-based distribution of first-line drugs, including dispersible amoxicillin tablets, for children. This includes potential distribution through private health care providers, focusing on areas where public provision is weakest and children are most at risk.
• Advocate for a regulatory environment to improve the use of first-line drugs and commodities for child health at the community level, and monitor progress and outcomes.
• Engage key advertising and behavior change communications agencies to develop and disseminate messages to increase caregiver awareness of the danger signs of newborn and childhood illnesses; the importance of timely care-seeking behavior; adherence to treatment regimens; and the benefits of health timing and pregnancy spacing on child survival.
• Engage and strengthen the capacity of leading organizations (e.g. community empowerment groups, women’s groups, faith-based groups such as FOMWAN and the Christian Association of Nigeria) to partner with caregivers at the national and state levels to address most-at-risk children in the most vulnerable communities, and to improve preventive behaviors, care seeking (including to increase demand for RI services), and adherence to treatment and referrals for maternal, newborn, and childhood illnesses. Monitor the progress of knowledge management strategies to support these organizations.
• Support the FMOH and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to empower, train, and equip public-sector, frontline health workers to appropriately diagnose, refer (where necessary), and treat children with childhood illnesses, and to integrate nutrition and family planning into those services.
• Support the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, Patented Medicine Vendors Associations, and Society for Family Health to empower, train, and equip private-sector, frontline health workers to appropriately diagnose, refer (where necessary), and treat childhood illnesses, including pneumonia using dispersible amoxicillin tablets.
• Participate in child health-related stakeholder working groups at national level in Nigeria, and in relevant global meetings focused on child health.
• Collaborate with MCSP/Nigeria’s National Newborn Health Advisor on advocacy and policy strategies specific to newborn health as needed.
• Masters Degree in Public Health, Education, Science, Social Science, Management or related field.
• Minimum of 10 years of professional experience in advocacy and communication in the health field, and a minimum of 5 years of child health technical and program experience.
• Proven ability to develop relationships with government officials and key decision-making authorities and stakeholders. Demonstrated ability and experience in forging results-oriented relationships and alliances, and in building and sustaining multi-stakeholder partnerships.
• Strong knowledge of the political, social, economic, and cultural context of Nigeria.
• Knowledge and demonstrated experience engaging the media to raise public health awareness and shape public health policy; demonstrated ability to develop, implement and monitor advocacy plans.
• Ability to communicate effectively with and message differently to a wide range of audiences at the local, national, and international levels.
• Superior technical writing and oral presentation skills.
• Ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment, with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
• Ability and willingness to travel in the field.
Interested candidates should send their applications, with comprehensive CV, motivation letter, and a writing sample on a health-related advocacy topic, no later than Saturday, August 15, 2015. Applications should be sent to the following email address: MCSPNigeriaHR@jsi.com.