Consultants at the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)


United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Consultant – Formative Research for Wasting Detection and Enrollment into Treatment Protocol, 11.5 months

Job No.: 550731
Location: Kano, Nigeria
Level: Consultancy
Contract type: Consultancy
Categories: Nutrition

Job Description

  • The academic research partner, in close consultation with IFPRI and UNICEF will co-design the agenda and co-lead the workshop activities. MoH, PHCDA and other relevant partners will be invited. The inception workshop (referred as first workshop) will be used, to:
  • Map all actors, platforms, and systems that are currently involved in or have the potential to be re-shaped to incorporate any aspects of the screening, diagnosis, referral, and treatment of wasting,
  • Conduct a first bottleneck assessment,
  • Assess to what extent the proposed intervention components may offer solutions to the screening, diagnosis, referral, and treatment gaps and,
  • Identify complementary intervention components needed to close any identified gaps. A key input into workshop will be prior country-specific experience with simplified approaches and other potential intervention components collected over the recent years. Ultimately, the workshop will inform the focus of the next phase of the formative research.

2.) Document review, secondary data analyses, and key informant interviews:

The insights from the inception workshop will be followed by a phase of targeted formative research co-designed with IFPRI and led by the national academic research partner in close consultation with IFPRI and UNICEF. The targeted formative research will be done chronologically:

Desk review:

  • Existing survey and monitoring and evaluation data will be analyzed to assess service delivery and coverage of all platforms involved in screening, diagnosis, referral, and treatment of wasting.
  • This component will include a rapid review of relevant literature and existing evidence from previous studies on family MUAC, CHWs treatment at community level, reduced visitation, and other potential components to be included in the intervention.
  • This component will also identify evidence gaps relevant to the implementation of these approaches at larger scale and as part of routine health services.
  • The initial mapping of the continuum of care will be expanded by reviewing relevant community and health system-based platforms to confirm their readiness to incorporate the alternative approaches and identify needs for system strengthening.
  • Particular attention will be given on strengthening the capacity of the supply chain system to accommodate new decentralized services at community level.

Key informant interviews:

  • The insights from the review and data analyses will be further complemented with targeted key-informant interviews and focus group discussions. Key informants will include staff members from UNICEF, FMOH/ NPHCDA/ SMOH/ SPHCDA, non-governmental organizations with experience implementing wasting programs, and health centers involved in the screening and treatment of wasting; actors and platforms with sufficient potential to integrate screening, diagnosis, and referral for wasting; community health and other frontline workers; and other community members etc.
  • A key output of this step is a framework describing the context-specific screening to treatment continuum; existing points of contact between families, community and health system platforms that either carry out screening for wasting or have the potential to do so; known or perceived barriers, facilitators, bottlenecks, challenges, and opportunities (for communities and health systems) along the screening to treatment for wasting continuum and for each point of contact; and potential incentives for all actors.
  • The framework will propose the basis to design the context-tailored activities to increase the quality and coverage of wasting screening, diagnosis, and referral. It will also allow to identify which additional activities might be needed to increase coverage of completed treatment, to provide adequate follow-up of cases after treatment completion, and to ensure timely detection of relapse.

3.) Second workshop:

  • All findings under activities 1 and 2 will be summarized and triangulated. This will provide the background for a workshop with key national stakeholders to identify and agree on the intervention components that will be piloted.
  • The academic research partner, in close consultation with IFPRI and UNICEF will design the agenda and co-lead the workshop activities.
  • At the workshop, the academic partner in collaboration with IFPRI will guide participants develop a preliminary program impact pathway describing how the proposed intervention will help achieve greater coverage and better quality of screening for wasting, earlier detection, better diagnosis and referral, and subsequently increased treatment adherence and completion.

4.) Development of intervention model:

  • The formative research will inform the preliminary intervention design. This full preliminary design and/or selected components of the preliminary intervention will be piloted by UNICEF’s implementing partner (Jigawa State Primary Health Care Development Agency) in collaboration with the local academic partner for a short period (e.g. 3-6 months) to allow for adjustments to the intervention model that will be scaled up during the implementation phase.

5.) Development of research protocol:
The research protocol will have 3 main components as per below:

  • Impact evaluation: the strongest possible study design compatible with the nature of the platform and system strengthening activities will be selected by IFPRI and the academic research partner in consultation with the implementing partners and health services.
  • Implementation research protocol: the protocol will describe how mixed quantitative and qualitative methods will be used to document the quality-of-service delivery in all stages of the strengthened screening to increased treatment continuum.
  • Cost study protocol: a protocol describing the use of the activity-based costing-ingredients (ABC-I) methodology will be co-developed by the academic research partner and IFPRI and in consultation with UNICEF. The ABC-I method first defines each of the activities implemented along the screening to treatment continuum for wasting; then identifies and costs the ingredients, or inputs, used to achieve each activity; and finally allows for the transparent calculation of how the platform-specific complexity affects cost.

6.) Obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) and other approvals:

  • Prior to starting the research implementation (Phase 2) activities, the academic research partner will be responsible for getting approval on the study design from a qualified in-country IRB, and from all necessary (local) authorities as needed.
  • Preliminary intervention package: this will be piloted/implemented into existing routine programme, IRB may not be needed. Should IRB is needed the national academic partner will be responsible for clearance.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • Minimum of a PhD (Nutrition Sciences/ Public Health/Nutrition Chemistry).
  • More than ten years as a lecturer, preferably, at a proven University in North West Nigeria.
  • More than ten years in nutrition research. Formative research skills are an asset.
  • Experience working in/knowledge of the North West, nutrition context and local Nigerian language skills. Familiar with wasting programming.
  • Familiar with research, program evaluations.
  • Familiar with the need to sensitize not only communities, but decisionmakers and stakeholders at all levels.
  • Familiar with ethical and other clearance needed to conduct study.
  • Excellent communication skills in English language (written and verbal).
  • Has more than three publications and as a principal Investigator.

For every Child, you demonstrate:

  • UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA). To view our competency framework, please visit here.

Application Closing Date
18th May, 2022 West Central Africa Standard Time.

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

Important Information and Notice

  • UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.
  • UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.
  • UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks.
  • Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.


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