Malawi: International Consultancy – Micronutrient (Vitamin A & Anemia),

Organization: UN Children’s Fund
Country: Malawi
Closing date: 19 May 2017

If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world’s leading children’s rights organization would like to hear from you.

For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children’s survival, protection and development. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

Purpose of the Assignment

In Malawi 63% of children under five were considered to be anemic and 37% of children under five were found to be stunted, with stunting slightly higher among male children (39% percent) than among female children (35%) as identified by the Malawi Demographic Health Survey (MDHS 2015-16). In addition, infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices are sub-optimal, with only 8% of children 6-23 months receiving minimum acceptable diet[1] down from 15% in 2014[2]. Insufficient nutrition (including inadequate calories, protein, or micronutrients) can have detrimental effect on the health, growth and development of young children. Inadequate nutrition can lead to improper growth, characterized by stunting, wasting or underweight. It can also lead to micronutrient deficiencies (i.e. iron, vitamin A, and zinc deficiencies) which are associated with a range of problems including impaired immunity, vision problems, and impaired cognitive development. The consequences of poor nutrition are pronounced among children 6-23 months of age as this is a period of rapid growth and development characterized by high nutritional needs. As a result, children 6-23 months are at the greatest risk of developing micronutrient deficiencies and stunted growth.

The National Micronutrient Strategy has adopted several approaches for addressing micronutrient deficiencies which include food based approaches, supplementation and fortification as some key interventions for addressing micronutrient deficiencies. Vitamin A supplementation has in recent years been conducted through biannual Child Health Days which also combine with deworming and nutrition messages. Fortification of sugar and edible oil is another vehicle for ensuring consumption of vitamin A. Owing to these and other interventions vitamin A deficiency has declined in the last 15 years, currently at 8 percent among children 6-59 months in 2015 compared to 59 percent in 2001. Therefore these gains need to be sustained. Currently virtually all vitamin A supplementation is being conducted through Child Health Days and very little through routine immunization or primary health services. This is an expensive and unsustainable way for the country to provide vitamin A supplements. As such, the government with support from UNICEF will from 2017 launch the integration of vitamin A supplementation in routine immunization through the Extended Programme on Immunization (EPI). Additional to Vitamin A supplementation for children, there is a need to strengthen the provision of Iron and Folate supplementation for adolescent girls as well as pregnant women.

The Nutrition Unit of Ministry of Health is the implementing agency of Vitamin A and Iron and Folate supplementation under the guidance of the DNHA. The Nutrition Unit is heavily understaffed with only a deputy director and two technical officers. The Unit therefore requires technical support to effectively implement existing micronutrient interventions as well as supporting implementation of new and innovative approaches. UNICEF will therefore, engage a consultant to provide technical support and expertise to the Ministry of Health (MOH) Nutrition Unit in the implementation of an innovative approach to integrating Vitamin A supplementation through routine immunization as well as supporting delivery platforms for the provision of Iron and Folate supplementation for adolescent girls and pregnant women. It is against this background and rationale that UNICEF Malawi will support the Ministry of Health, National Nutrition Unit with technical support towards strengthening micronutrient interventions in Malawi.

Assignment Tasks

The key purpose of the assignment is to provide technical support to Ministry of Health (Nutrition Unit) and UNICEF Malawi in strengthening micronutrient interventions in Malawi, while ensuring effective coordination and collaboration with key stakeholders.

The selected consultant will assist in undertaking the following activities:

  • Develop a road map/implementation plan for integration of vitamin A supplementation in EPI program
  • Conduct quantification and budgeting of all supplies and services contained in the implementation plan
  • Support the alignment of vitamin A and EPI IEC tools
  • Support the districts in integration of vitamin A supplementation in routine EPI program
  • Support districts in immunization microplanning in collaboration with EPI department of the ministry
  • Facilitate timely reporting of vitamin A supplementation from all 29 districts
  • Document challenges, successes and lessons learnt in vitamin A supplementation
  • Support National EPI TWG taskforce in development of monthly distribution plans and any other supply chain logistics-related activities for immunization
  • Develop monthly updates and briefs on vitamin A supplementation including key progress indicators to be shared in various coordination for a
  • Develop action plan for strengthening the provision of Iron and Folate supplementation to adolescent girls and pregnant women
  • Collaborate with school health department within Ministry of Health for the roll out of Iron and Folate supplementation for adolescent girls within schools
  • Develop mechanisms integrating supply chain for Vitamin A and Iron and Folate supplements into the existing systems for EPI department within Ministry of Health

    Expected Deliverables

    Task

    Deliverable

    Timeframe

    Payment schedule

    Develop a road map/implementation plan for integration of vitamin A supplementation in EPI program

    Roadmap document submitted

    By end of the 1st month of assignment

    1/11th of consultancy fee upon submission of Roadmap

    31 May 2017

    Develop quantification and budgeting of all supplies and services contained in the implementation plan

    Quantification & Budget developed

    By end of 2nd month of assignment

    1/11th of consultancy fee upon submission of Quantification & Budget

    30 June 2017

    Support the development and alignment of vitamin A and EPI reporting and IEC tools

    Package of tools submitted

    By end of 3rd month of assignment

    1/11th of consultancy fee submission of aligned tools

    31 July 2017

    Develop monitoring and evaluation framework and tools for vitamin A supplementation

    Vitamin A monitoring and evaluation tools submitted

    By end of 4th month of assignment

    1/11th of consultancy fee upon submission of revised M&E tools

    30 September 2017

    Develop supply chain logistics standard operating procedures for vitamin A & Iron/Folate supplements

    Standard operating procedures for vitamin A & Iron/Folate in place

    By end of 5th month of assignment

    1/11th of consultancy fee upon submission of SOP for vitamin A & Iron/Folate

    31 October 2017

    Develop implementation and scale up plan for strengthening the provision of Iron and Folate supplementation to adolescent girls and pregnant women

    Action plan developed

    By end of 6th month from assuming assignment

    1/11th of consultancy fee upon submission of Action plan

    30 November 2017

    Develop & finalize training tools and materials for implementation of Iron/Folate Supplementation for adolescent girls in Joint Program on Girls Education

    Training materials developed

    By end of 7th month from assuming assignment

    1/11th of consultancy fee upon submission of Training materials

    31 December 2017

    Conduct monthly support, mentoring and coaching to districts implementing vitamin A & Iron/Folate supplementation

    Detailed monthly district reports with key progress indicators; lessons learned and best practices documented

    Monthly

    Support quarterly EPI TWG meetings and present updates and progress reports

    Meeting minutes, quarterly update report compiled

    Quarterly

    Support national biannual review/postmortem of vitamin A supplementation

    Bi-annual CHDs report available with complete data from all districts

    Within 30 days of completion of Bi-annual CHDs

    Support districts with development of micro plans for immunization

    Micro plans available

    Twice a year

    Develop & finalize data collection and monitoring tools for Iron/Folate supplementation for adolescent girls

    Data collection and monitoring tools submitted

    By end of 8th month from assuming assignment

    1/11th of consultancy fee upon submission of data collection and monitoring tools

    31 January 2018

    Develop C4D materials for use in schools for Iron/Folate supplementation for adolescent girls

    C4D materials

    By end of the 9th month of assuming assignment

    1/11th of consultancy fee upon submission of C4D materials

    28 February 2018

    Document process of roll out of Iron/Folate supplementation for adolescent girls

    Process document in place

    By end of 10th month from assuming assignment

    1/11th of consultancy fee upon submission of Process document

    31 March 2018

    Guidelines for implementation of Iron/Folate supplementation finalized

    IFA Guideline developed

    By end of 11th month of assuming assignment

    1/11th of consultancy fee upon submission of IFA guideline

    31 April 2018

    Attend JPGE quarterly meetings

    Quarterly minutes submitted

    Quarterly

    Develop distribution plans for vitamin A & Iron/Folate supplies and materials

    Distribution plans available

    Monthly

    Support districts with development of micro plans for immunization

    Micro plans available

    Twice a year

    Qualifications of Successful Candidate

  • Master’s degree in Health policy and planning, Public Health or other related Social Science
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience working in health and Nutrition planning for Micronutrients
  • Knowledge and experience on integration of vitamin A in routine immunization programs.
  • Experience in other micronutrient interventions such as deworming, Iron folate supplementation is desirable
  • Previous experience in developing C4Dmaterials, monitoring tools and reports.
  • Experience working with governments, NGOS, UN agencies or other relevant development partners.
  • Competencies of Successful Candidate

    To view our competency framework, please click here.

    Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable). Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

    UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organisation.

    How to apply:

    UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/?job=504352

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