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International Consultancy: Integrated Maternal Health Care 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 analyse the evolving landscape of primary health care, in particular maternal health care, and outline a vision for the UNFPA to improve access to good quality, integrated and people-centered maternal health care in the East and Southern Africa (ESA) region. 


Between 2000 and 2017, the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) declined by 38 percent – from 342 deaths to 211 deaths per 100,000 live births. This decline translates into an average annual rate of reduction of 2.9 percent. While substantive, this is less than half the 6.4 per cent annual rate change needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The ESA region has recorded an average annual rate of reduction of MMR of 4% between 2000 and 2017. Despite this impressive decline, the ESA region accounted for about a quarter of the estimated global number of maternal deaths in 2017. This level of change in the MMR is not adequate for achieving the SDG MMR target in the region.  

In 2017, the MMR of the ESA region was 391 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, which is lower than the Sub-Saharan Africa MMR of 542 but much higher than the global MMR of 211. With these ratios, the lifetime risk of maternal death in the ESA region was around 1 in 54, compared with 1 in 190 globally. 

The direct and indirect effect of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV continues to be a major contributor to maternal mortality in the ESA region. An estimated 3,600 HIV-related indirect maternal deaths occurred in 2017 globally of which 3,200 were recorded in sub-Saharan Africa. Also, humanitarian situations, disease outbreaks and situations of conflict, post-conflict and disaster continue to hinder progress in MMR reduction in the region. 

To accelerate the pace of MMR reductions, the ESA countries are scaling up proven maternal health interventions as well as experimenting with innovative approaches to improve the: financing for health and maternal health services; readiness and functionality of the primary health care delivery systems; self-care platforms to improve self-awareness about, self-screening and self-management of health, including sexual and reproductive health conditions; health seeking behaviour; quality-of-care; and, client-satisfaction. 

Description of Services:

The consultant will be responsible for analysing the evolving landscape of maternal health care in the ESA region, and outline a vision for the UNFPA to improve access to good quality, integrated and people-centred maternal health care in the region in the next decade (i.e., 2020 to 2030). 

Based on the evidence from the analysis, the Consultant will outline the five major bottlenecks hindering the achievement of universal access to quality maternal care in the ESA region. 

The Consultant will also be required to make evidence-based recommendations to address the identified bottlenecks to accelerate progress in achieving the best outcomes for maternal health in the region. 

As much as possible, the recommendations could include innovative approaches taking into consideration the socio-economic contexts of Middle Income Countries (MICs) as well as developing countries within the region. 

Activities and outputs:

Main activities will include, but not limited to,

Review, analyse and document global, regional and country-level peer reviewed (published and grey) literature on accelerating progress towards universal access to quality maternal health care;

Analyse the evolving landscape of maternal health care and their implications for attaining universal coverage of proven maternal health services through primary health care in humanitarian as well as developmental settings in the ESA region; 

On the basis of the analysis, outline a vision for the nursing and midwifery practice to accelerate progress towards universal access to quality maternal health care;

Consult with selected group of leading maternal/public health experts, including other consultants recruited to explore digital health in fostering the four transformative results, to outline a vision for the UNFPA to improve access to good quality, integrated and people-centred maternal health care in the region; and,

Recommend partners (technical and financial) with whom UNFPA can engage to optimize the maternal health outcomes in the region. 

Duration and working schedule:

The assignment will be 35 days spread over from commencement of the assignment to 30th November 2020. The following time frame is applied in calculating the total days. 

Inception report with clear methodology- 2 days

Identification of relevant literature and review – 14 days 

Analyse and report writing – 10 days 

Draft report - 6 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 from the date of the contract is issued to  30th November 2020 with the deliverables submitted as below:

An electronic inception report which includes a background and methodology that indicates how systematic literature review will be done (should not exceed 4 pages).  4 days after the contract signed. 

Draft report. 15th of November, 2020

Final report. 30th of November, 2020

Monitoring and progress control:

The consultant is expected to produce the following deliverables:

An Inception report that includes a background and methodology that indicates how the reviews will be done. 

Weekly remote update meeting with ISRHR unit

Preliminary analysis will be presented to ISRHR 

Feedback will be collected from regional and country colleagues

Final report reviewed by ISRHR 

Supervisory arrangements:

The consultant will report to the Health Systems Specialist, Regional Health Systems Advisor and Knowledge management and Innovation Specialist 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:

The consultant shall meet the at a minimum the following criteria:

Master level degree in medicine and/or public health 

Experience in similar tasks using systematic literature review 

Experience in landscape and predictive analyses in the field of maternal health and/or public health

A minimum of 10 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 - Integrated Maternal Health Care”

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.