World Health Organization (WHO)

Technical Officer (Health Emergencies)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Job Description


This is a requisition for employment at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO)

The objective of the Health Emergencies Department (PHE) of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is to increase Health Sector resilience to emergencies and disasters. PHE assists Member States to strengthen the health sector’s capacities in prevention, risk reduction, preparedness, surveillance, response, and early recovery for emergencies and disasters related to any hazards (natural, man-made, biological, chemical, radiological and others) and, when national capacities are overwhelmed, to lead and coordinate the international health response to contain disasters, including outbreaks, and to provide effective relief and recovery to affected populations. PHE is responsible for ensuring the implementation and updating of the PAHO/WHO Institutional Emergency and Disaster Response Policy.


Under the general supervision of the Director, Health Emergencies (PHE), and the direct supervision of the Advisor, Health Emergencies (Central America), the incumbent is responsible for, but not necessarily limited to, the following assigned duties:

  1. Provide support for the implementation of the PHE Strategic Plan throughout Central America, including but not limited to disaster risk reduction, country preparedness, emergency operations, health information and risk assessment;
  2. Provide Technical Support for the establishment and/or strengthening of national disaster reduction and preparedness programs within the health sector;
  3. Provide technical support to national authorities and assist in the design and implementation of the subregional plan to prevent, mitigate, prepare or respond to national emergencies caused by all types of hazards including: natural, technological, biological, chemical and radiological hazards, as well as those resulting from social conflicts including displacement, or from pandemic influenza;
  4. Organize and participate in training activities related to disaster management, and health services Capacity Building in member states at the national, regional and subregional level, to effectively respond to emergencies and disasters;
  5. Support partner coordination and involvement in health emergencies, including nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), planning, information, interventions, monitoring and quality assurance, and regularly report on health services delivered to the affected populations;
  6. Provide technical support to countries in reviewing and updating health disaster preparedness plans; support the systematic literature reviews of all guidelines, methodologies and tools developed by PHE and for assessing and improving the level of preparedness of health facilities in response to disasters and emergencies;
  7. Collaborate in the development, implementation and monitoring of the PHE’s Biennial Work Plan (BWP) as well as provide support to PAHO COs in the subregion to develop and monitor health emergency components of their BWPs;
  8. Support the elaboration, implementation, and reporting on health emergency projects, including to mobilize resources for emergency and disaster response;
  9. Participate in the Regional Response Team in case of disasters; collaborate in rapid needs assessment for the health sector; information management, and support the identification and mobilization of experts to support a disaster response, as necessary;
  10. Support PAHO Country Offices in leading the Health Cluster Coordination when the UN Cluster mechanism is activated in countries in the Region;
  11. Assist in the review and Analysis of issues and trends relating to the Department’s technical matters in which he/she can add value. Support the preparation of various written outputs, e.g., draft background papers, analysis, sections of reports and studies and other inputs to technical publications. Provide assistance to the preparation of technical documents for Governing Body meetings
  12. Perform other related duties, as required.



Essential: A bachelor’s degree in a health, environmental or social science related to the functions of the post from a recognized university.

Desirable: Postgraduate studies in public health or related field and/or specialized training in disaster preparedness and risk reduction would be an asset.

In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO, only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: PAHO will also use the databases of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and College Navigator, found on the website of the National Centre for Educational Statistics, to support the validation process.


Essential: Five years of national professional experience in public health, social services or disaster management (prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery)

Desirable: Experience in disaster, emergency preparedness and management, outbreak response and working with UN organizations would be an asset. Experience in humanitarian coordination (including but not limited to intersectoral and interagency coordination).


PAHO Competencies:

  • Overall attitude at work: Maintains integrity and takes a clear ethical approach and stance; demonstrates commitment to the Organization’s mandate and promotes the values of the Organization in daily work and behavior; is accountable for work carried out in line with own role and responsibilities; is respectful towards, and trusted by, colleagues and counterparts.
  • Teamwork: Collaborate and cooperate with others. - Works collaboratively with team members and counterparts to achieve results; encourages cooperation and builds rapport; helps others when asked; accepts joint responsibility for the teams’ successes and shortcomings. Identifies conflicts in a timely manner and addresses them as necessary; understands issues from the perspective of others; does not interpret/ attribute conflicts to cultural, geographical or gender issues.
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences: Relate well to diversity in others and capitalize on such diversity - Treats all people with dignity and respect. Relates well to people with different cultures, gender, orientations, backgrounds and/or positions; examines own behavior to avoid stereotypical responses; considers issues from the perspective of others and values their diversity.
  • Communication: Express oneself clearly when speaking/Write effectively/Listen/Shares knowledge - Quality and quantity of communication targeted at audience. Listens attentively and does not interrupt other speakers. Adapts communication style and written content to ensure they are appropriately and accurately understood by the audience (e.g., power-point presentations, communication strategies, implementation plans). Shares information openly with colleagues and transfers knowledge, as needed.
  • Knowing and managing yourself: Manages stress/Invite feedback/Continuously learn - Remains productive even in an environment where information or direction is not available, and when facing challenges; recovers quickly from setbacks, where necessary. Manages stress positively; remains positive and productive even under pressure; does not transfer stress to others. Seeks feedback to improve knowledge and performance; shows self- awareness when seeking and receiving feedback; uses feedback to improve own performance. Seeks informal and/or formal learning opportunities for personal and professional development; systematically learns new competencies and skills useful for job; takes advantage of learning opportunities to fill competencies and skill gaps.
  • Producing Results: Deliver quality results/Take responsibility - Produces high-quality results and workable solutions that meet clients’ needs. Works independently to produce new results and sets own timelines effectively and efficiently. Shows awareness of own role and clarifies roles of team members in relation to project’s expected results. Makes proposals for improving processes as required and takes responsibility for own work and/or actions, as necessary. Demonstrates positive attitude in working on new projects and initiatives. Demonstrates accountability for own success, as well as for errors; learns from experience.
  • Moving forward in a changing environment: Propose change/Adapt to change - Suggests and articulates effective and efficient proposals for change as needed when new circumstances arise. Quickly and effectively adapts own work approach in response to new demands and changing priorities. Is open to new ideas, approaches and working methods; adjusts own approach to embrace change initiatives.

Technical Expertise:

  • Theoretical and practical knowledge in establishing and managing emergency operations, including formulation of strategies, plans of action, project proposals, budgets and reports; familiarity with the international actors in emergency preparedness and humanitarian health assistance.
  • Knowledge and skills in project planning, management and evaluation, including resource mobilization and grant management.
  • Strong public health and strategic thinking background showing resourcefulness, initiative, leadership qualities and skills to deal with difficult situations and sensitive areas.
  • Ability to analyze factors, trends, and forecast scenarios based on current surveillance systems and possesses the capability to develop and plan innovative and appropriate solutions for their improvement.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and tact to effectively communicate with senior level officials, multiple stakeholders, and professionals from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds.
  • Strong professional oral and writing skills, including the development of reports, oral presentations, and technical/persuasive documents for consideration at the highest levels of the Organization.
  • Theoretical and practical expertise in all aspects related to surveillance, prevention and control of health emergencies, as well as a thorough knowledge of epidemiology, prevention and control methods.


Essential: Very good knowledge of Spanish with a working knowledge of English.

IT Skills:

Demonstrated ability to effectively use current technology and software, spreadsheets and presentations, as well as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and management information systems. Other IT skills and knowledge of software programs such as Microsoft Excel, Outlook, OneDrive, PowerPoint, Teams, SharePoint, and Word are considered essential.


Annual Salary: (Net of taxes)

B/. 60,316.00


This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level.

Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.

A written test may be used as a form of screening.

Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to PAHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and e-Manual.

For information on PAHO please visit:

PAHO/WHO is an ethical organization that maintains high standards of integrity and accountability. People joining PAHO are required to maintain these standards both in their professional work and personal activities.

PAHO/WHO also promotes a work environment that is free from harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, and other types of abusive behavior. PAHO conducts background checks and will not hire anyone who has a substantiated history of abusive conduct.

PAHO/WHO personnel interact frequently with people in the communities we serve. To protect these people, PAHO has zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse. People who commit serious wrongdoing will be terminated and may also face criminal prosecution.

PAHO/WHO is committed to workforce diversity. PAHO/WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.

PAHO offers an attractive compensation package including an annual net salary (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance). Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme.

All applicants are required to complete an on-line profile to be considered for this post.

Candidates must hold a permanent local working visa (citizenship or permanent resident card) of Panama.

Candidates will be contacted only if they are under serious consideration. A written test and/or interview will be held for this post. The post description is the official documentation for organizational purposes.

Apply Now