Vacancy: International Individual Consultancy on home visiting system assessment (UNICEF in Belarus)

UNICEF Office in Belarus is looking for an International Individual Consultant to Work with a Team of National Consultants/ Institution on Patronage (home visiting) system assessment with equity analysis.
Qualification or Specialized Knowledge/Experience Required:

- PhD or equivalent in public health, economics, management, public administration with a minimum of 10 years of working experience in the relevant field;

- proven experience in providing consultancy services in relevant public health areas, such as health services management, health care evaluation, social work at primary healthcare level;

- previous experience in implementation of relevant or similar consultancy work in the CEE/CIS region would be an asset;

- strong facilitation, training, and communication skills;

- excellent analytical thinking, report writing, training and communication skills;

- must be familiar and actively use relevant statistical programmes and all relevant computer applications in general;

- proven experience in conducting feasibility studies, health market survey and needs assessment for health investments, health sector business processes re-engineering;

- knowledge of the UNICEF global priorities;

- experience in implementation of development projects in transition economies, experience in working with high level ministerial staff and local authorities would an asset;

- proven ability to innovate, plan and execute ideas as well as transfer knowledge and skills;

- the consultant(s) should be fluent in spoken and written Russian and English;

- advanced computer skills.

The country reduced infant and under-five mortality rates, as well as maternal mortality. In 2014, infant mortality was 3.5 deaths per 1,000 live births (3.2 in urban and 4.4 in rural areas) compared with 7.1 in 2005 (6.0 and 10.0, respectively), while under-five mortality was 4.4 deaths per 1,000 live births (4.0 in urban and 5.6 in rural areas) as compared with 9.3 in 2005 (7.5 and 14.1, respectively). The Government had made concerted efforts to maintain high levels of health care and immunization coverage and low rates of infant and under-five mortality, and to increase the survival rate of babies who are preterm and of low birth weight. Early identification is critical to ensure that vulnerable and at-risk children receive the additional services they need for child protection and early intervention. Home visiting matches parents with trained professionals to provide information and support throughout a child’s first few years.

Patronage / home visiting system in the Republic of Belarus is a system of active surveillance of the child as a patient at home. The pediatrician and/or nurse make a number of visits to the baby in the first months of his/her life at home, and then mother starts attending the district children's policlinic. The system of free patronage observation applies to all newborns. From the hospital where the baby was born, information about the health statement would be necessarily transferred to the children's policlinics. First patronage to the newborn must be made no later than 1-2 days after discharge from the maternity hospital; premature infants with symptomatic congenital abnormalities should be visited by perinatal nurse and/or on the day of discharge. The overall objective of the patronage is to create a program of rehabilitation of the child if needed, consult the mother on the developmental issues, but mainly related to physical development, as well as to assess the state of health of the child and  maternal health, socio-economic conditions of the family and, of course, to develop a training program
for mothers, designed to meet the vital needs of the child.

Although the system exists, some inefficacies need to be addressed. The responsibility of supervising the 0-3 age group has been assigned to health services in the country. However, because of the critical shortage of the pediatricians and their unawareness of the complexity of young child’s development, effective prevention technics, the focus of the national patronage/ home visiting system has been placed on the provision of the medical treatment on demand. In addition, the blame approach, which is still common in working with families, especially with at-risk families, discourages cooperation and incites families in need to become passive recipients of services. The most vulnerable groups of parents are young mothers, caregivers and single parents. Properly designed and delivered home visiting programs improve short- and long-term child and family outcomes, including reducing the number of children and families in social danger, in need of state support, special health psycho-social services because of maltreatment and abuse, prevention of children’s mental and physical health disorders, prevention of the child separation, abandonment and relinquishment, as well as the child’s placement into residential care. Those outcomes, in turn, result in considerable cost savings and reduction of public burden.

The deadline for the submission of proposals is 11 October, 2016, 6 p.m (Minsk time). Proposals should be submitted for the attention of Nadzeya Lukina at: NLukina@unicef.org. For more details, please, click here.

By UNICEF.by