Senior Program Officer, Health Systems Strengthening at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

  • Full Time
  • Abuja, Nigeria
  • company standard NGN / Month

Website Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a nonprofit fighting pov...

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. For over 20 years, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been committed to tackling the greatest inequities in our world.

Your Role

The Senior Program Officer (SPO) will:

  • Support the design, development and implementation of Primary Health Care (PHC) reforms across both foundational reforms and innovation agenda pillars at the country level
  • Support PHC reforms that help countries “spend well” on PHC by reforming financing fundamentals, getting funds more directly to facilities or ‘local’ levels, enabling autonomy over the use of these funds and extending recourse and decision making over supplies and human resources
  • Support the development of new operational data for decision-making and accountability
  • Lead the design and the implementation of digital innovations in service of PHC strengthening at the country level
  • Strategically develop and manage one or more portfolios of grants and contracts requiring high-level grant management skills, monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the outcomes are achieved
  • Develop key partnerships to expand and scale the health impact at the country level
  • Have a very strong country led focus and will engage with our country teams to ensure excellent partnerships, shared goals and joint vision
  • Foster exceptional relationships with key Government stake holders at Ministerial level in Nigeria, using excellent communication skills with deep technical knowledge to support Ministry of Health (MoH) etc, to embrace the PHC strategy and create impact and better utilization of PHC services in Nigeria.

This position reports to the Deputy Director – Health and Nutrition, Nigeria

What You’ll Do

  • This is significant role championing the PHC strategy across both Innovation and Foundational pillars and fostering unparalleled levels of support and partnership from our Country Offices. The SPO will be work closely across all PHC sub-teams and country office to support health systems reforms at country level.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Ensure that the results framework is embedded across both of our PHC pillars and is fostered and jointly owned by our country offices
  • Facilitate development of annual investment plans and budgets, develop, modify, and implement strategy at the country level. Work with foundation leadership as requested to address cross-cutting issues and improve functions and performance
  • Accountable for the identification and assessment of key portfolio risks, and the development and management of mitigation/contingency plans at the portfolio level
  • Manage partnerships and grantee relationships at the country level to achieve impact, for example, by conducting site visits, convening meetings of key partners, monitoring, and evaluating components of grants
  • Support and coordinate with global financing levers to increase/scale the health impact at the country level.
  • Provide technical support in the areas of innovation in Primary Health Care (PHC) service delivery with a focus on using digital technologies to transform care
  • Support the design and the implementation of digital innovations in service of PHC strengthening at the country level (preferably in Africa)
  • Measure results and return on investments at the country level, pivot and learn from findings to create impact, and contribute to the nascent knowledge base on strengthening service delivery through digital
  • Negotiate, implement, and manage complex portfolio of grants on service delivery innovation and foundational reforms that will improve service delivery and efficiency at population levels of scale
  • Advise and support deep and moderate country office/teams to accelerate foundational reforms by enabling states/districts to effectively disburse funds/purchase high priority services from PHC facilities, while enabling PHC facilities to receive and use these funds
  • Provide technical leadership, facilitation, technical assistance, mentoring and coaching in the design and implementation of health financing activities, tailored to the specific needs of the country.
  • Advice and support the strengthening platforms to improve subnational technical capacity to analyze & use data for PHC performance management

Success Criteria

  • Leadership abilities to work with multiple partners in Nigeria, including government, other donors, grantees to create a common vision and visualize simple and effective but implementable solutions to complex problems that lead to sustainable impact
  • Strong strategic thinker with experience developing evidence-based strategic or operational plans as well as shaping and managing sustainable and scalable ventures
  • Experienced coalition builder and background of creating effective partnerships and establishing cross-sectoral linkages at the highest levels in government
  • Comfortable in a wide range of political, cultural, geographic and operational situations, demonstrating culturally sensitive behavior with a diverse range of partners
  • Deep understanding of PHC delivery through a service delivery lens
  • Demonstrated working experience in health finance and health economics in developing economies, experience in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa is highly preferred
  • Demonstrates a growth mindset with curiosity about new approaches, ability to change direction when needed, and willingness to seek feedback and course correct based on it
  • Excellent program and project management capabilities – always driving towards clear results within a timeline.
  • Clear, consistent communication in both writing and speaking.
  • Demonstrates excellent individual judgement and can act independently but also knows when to pull in additional resources or solicit others for assistance
  • Capability to understand the challenges and complexity of introducing and scaling innovations in service delivery in Low and Middle Income
  • Countries (LMIC) and how to work with partners and key collaborators, especially public sector entities, to overcome these challenges. Experience in developing public-private partnerships is desired.
  • Degree in Public Health, health financing, or other relevant field, Masters or Doctorate Degree preferred.

Your Experience (i.e. Qualifications and Education)

  • Minimum of 10 years of relevant work experience in public health, health financing and health economics in African settings
    Ideally, 7+ years of experience in a low-income country context, or equivalent experience, in working directly with ministries of health and finance, donors and implementing agencies in shaping the health care financing and innovation agendas. For example, Health Insurance and ensuring its implementation nationally and sub-nationally
  • Established track record of carrying out analytical/diagnostic work and preparing high-quality technical reports, policy briefing materials, and presentations to influence health financing policy decision making and implementation at national and subnational levels
  • Experience in the use of diagnostics and other decision tools to improve quality, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of care.
  • Track record of building strong relationships with implementing partners, donors, and officials at all levels of government
  • In-depth understanding of the Nigerian health system and of federal and state health policy, with on-the-ground experience in northern Nigeria in particular.
  • Extensive experience with large-scale health systems strengthening interventions – including multiple approaches to strengthening that range from interventions and sectoral-specifics.


  • Competency 1: Can communicate intricate health systems (health financing) concepts to partners with a diverse set of backgrounds, including leadership, program staff, grantees, and other foundation operational resources
  • Competency 2: Deep experience with large-scale health systems strengthening interventions – including multiple approaches to strengthening that range from interventions and sectoral-specifics.
  • Competency 3: Strong initiative, organizational skills, and ability to work autonomously and cross-functionally while remaining flexible to changing tasks, priorities, and roles and responsibilities
  • Competency 4: Seeing ahead to future possibilities and translating them into strategies, concrete theories of change and actions. Ability to think/act like an investor and a creative and generative thinker. Innovative and open-minded approach; ability to question and challenge colleagues including managers and partners in a constructive manner.
    *Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.

Application deadline – 6th October 2022

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