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International Consultancy: Digital Health to Improve Transformative Results in East and Africa Region

Level: Consultant

Contract Type:  International Consultancy

Closing date: 12 October 2020 - 5:00pm(Johannesburg time)

Duty station: Home-based

Purpose of Consultancy:

The purpose of this assignment is to synthesize and analyse evidence and map proven innovation and digital health interventions for ending preventable maternal deaths, ending unmet need for family planning, ending gender-based violence and other harmful practices, and ending transmission of HIV in the East and Southern Africa (ESA) region.   


Globally, various digital health interventions have produced tangible outcomes. Significant digital advances are supporting and accelerating achievement of Sustainable Development Goals including reducing maternal mortality and accelerating progress towards universal health coverage of life-saving essential sexual and reproductive health services. New and emerging digital health technologies are also changing people’s health seeking behaviour. More and more people, in particular young people, are using digital technologies to obtain health information and, more importantly, becoming active participants in self-care. Proliferation of digital hardwires is providing real time health information for both users and health professionals. The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) that is bringing the physical, digital, and biological worlds together, is also making it possible for individuals to be better informed of their health status and predispositions to certain conditions, as well as increasing peoples’ willingness to use preventative medicine and evidence-based self-care. 

In the past 5-10 years, many agencies have documented various digital health interventions in Africa notably in the area of information registry, workflow analysis, job aids and data. The onset of COVID-19 pandemic has seen an increased consumption of available and new technologies as well as accelerators facilitating the growth and scale of many digital health interventions to respond to the pandemic and ensure continuity of essential health services, including rapid scale up of interventions to increase self-awareness, self-screening and self-management of selected health conditions. 

Description of services:

This exercise will analyse the global and regional landscape of digital healthcare to understand the potential of available and emerging technologies for accelerating progress towards the four transformative results of UNFPA in the ESA region. The exercise will also map and identify proven innovative accelerators and incubators supporting to build a favourable ecosystem for digital health deployment at scale in ESA region. 

Scope of the assignment

The assessment will identify and document digital health and innovation platforms/interventions on Sexual and Reproductive Health information and services including:

Family Planning information and services;

Maternal health information and services;

HIV prevention information and services, especially among adolescents and youth; 

Information and services pertaining to gender based violence and other harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation;

Adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and rights information and services.  

In particular, the assessment will explore platforms/interventions to improve:

Human Resource for Health: assessing skills of health workers and continues professional development for digital health delivery systems(eLearning and mLearning); 

Services Delivery: (a) access to health services (eBooking, eVisit, eAccess, Telemedicine), (b) quality-of-care; (c) self-care (self-awareness generation, self-screening, self-treatment including  wearables and mHealth); (d) digital service delivery platform for adolescents and young people;

Health Management Information System (HMIS): application of technology for improving the timeliness, quality and use of HMIS; 

Access to essential medicines: application of technology on health commodity supply and management for improved availability of reproductive health commodities and supplies; and,

Demand for essential health services: women and youth’s experience of care (video appointments, online messaging, on-demand access to specialists, ways to assess client satisfaction). 

This assessment will also identify accelerators and incubators as well as systems available to support scale of innovators providing digital health solutions/platforms in ESAR exploring their skills, financing facilities, and cross country replication of technology. 

Activities and outputs:

The consultant is expected to:

Identify and review selected global, regional and the ESA country level literature, published (or grey) in the past 5 years as well as emerging evidence during the COVID-19 pandemic, pertaining to new and emerging digital platforms/systems/interventions in ESA region.

Undertake thematic mapping and analyses of existing and emerging digital health technologies/platforms/systems/interventions including mobile technology, wearables, including those deploying Artificial Intelligence etc. for accelerating progress towards the four transformative results. 

Explore the role of accelerators and incubators in supporting the scale and replication of innovation across the ESA region exploring their capacity and weaknesses.

Consult with experts, including other consultant recruited to explore the maternal health landscape in ESA region, to outline a vision for UNFPA for digital health in the ESA region. 

Identify at least 3 entry points of innovation intervention for the UNFPA ESARO from the market/ecosystem analysis to achieve its transformative results 

Identify potential funders and other technical partners which the UNFPA can engage to expand its portfolio in digital health delivery in ESA region. 

Duration and working schedule:

The assignment will be 35 days spread over from commencement of the assignment to 15th November 2020. The following time frame is applied in calculating the total days. 

Inception report with clear methodology- 2 days

Data collection – 10 days 

Analyse data, and report writing – 15 days 

Draft report -  5 days 

Compile feedback and final report - 3 days

Place where services are to be delivered:

The consultant will be working remotely from home. 


The consultant will be contracted for the period of 30 working days spread over from the date of the contract issues – 30th November 2020 with the deliverables submitted as below:

Electronic inception report which includes a background, methodology that indicates how systematic literature review will be done (should not exceed 4 pages).   

Draft report. 15th of November, 2020

Final report. 30th of November, 2020

Monitoring and progress control:

The consultant(s) is expected to produce the following deliverables:

An Inception report that includes a background and methodology that indicates how a structured search and analysis will be done.  

Weekly remote update meeting with the ISRHR unit

Presentation of the preliminary analysis to the ISRHR unit

Incorporation of feedback from regional and country colleagues.

Final report to be reviewed by the ISRHR Unit.

Supervisory arrangements:

The consultant will report to the Knowledge management and Innovation Specialist, Health System Specialist, and Health System Adviser of the ESARO. Experts from the Integrated Sexual and Reproductive Health (ISRHR) Team, UNFPA ESARO and UNFPA headquarter will serve as a technical quality assurance team.

Expected travel:

The consultancy is not expected to travel

Qualifications and Experience:

Advanced degree preferably in information technology, health informatics, science and technology and/or public health

Experience in similar tasks using systematic literature review 

Experience in digital health and predictive analysis in the field of public health. 

Experience working with digital innovators  

Proven track record and understanding of the African innovation and digital health ecosystem

A minimum of 7 years of experience in relevant area.

How to Apply:

The deadline for application is 12 October 2020, 5:00 PM Johannesburg time.

Submit your application with a detailed Curriculum Vitae and motivation letter to Ms. Muna Abdullah ( Please specify in the email subject “International Consultant - Digital Health”

UNFPA does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, processing, training) or other fee, or request information on applicants’ bank accounts.

UNFPA will only respond to those applicants in whom the Regional Office has further interest.