Senior Program Officer, Health Systems Strengthening at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people- especially those with the fewest resources - have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:


Job Title: Senior Program Officer, Health Systems Strengthening

Job Requisition ID: B017990
Location: Abuja
Employment Type: Full time
Reports to the Deputy Director - Health and Nutrition, Nigeria

The Team

  • The Africa team works to enable the foundation’s ambitious goals of scaling evidence-based interventions that target a range of disease and socio-economic conditions which are endemic across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
  • The team implements its responsibility through direct country engagement to deploy interventions and delivery models, and by building the partner architecture to replicate successful interventions and models across multiple countries.
  • The team also works closely with key continental and regional organizations to help accelerate implementation across multiple geographies.

Your Role
The Senior Program Officer (SPO) will:

  • Support the design, development and implementation of Primary Health Care (PHC) reforms across both foundational reforms and innovation agenda pillars at the country level
  • Support PHC reforms that help countries “spend well” on PHC by reforming financing fundamentals, getting funds more directly to facilities or ‘local’ levels, enabling autonomy over the use of these funds and extending recourse and decision making over supplies and human resources
  • Support the development of new operational data for decision-making and accountability
  • Lead the design and the implementation of digital innovations in service of PHC strengthening at the country level
  • Strategically develop and manage one or more portfolios of grants and contracts requiring high-level grant management skills, monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the outcomes are achieved
  • Develop key partnerships to expand and scale the health impact at the country level
  • Have a very strong country led focus and will engage with our country teams to ensure excellent partnerships, shared goals and joint vision
  • Foster exceptional relationships with key Government stake holders at Ministerial level in Nigeria, using excellent communication skills with deep technical knowledge to support Ministry of Health (MoH) etc, to embrace the PHC strategy and create impact and better utilization of PHC services in Nigeria.

What You’ll Do

  • This is significant role championing the PHC strategy across both Innovation and Foundational pillars and fostering unparalleled levels of support and partnership from our Country Offices.
  • The SPO will be work closely across all PHC sub-teams and country office to support health systems reforms at country level.

Key Responsibilities

  • Ensure that the results framework is embedded across both of our PHC pillars and is fostered and jointly owned by our country offices.
  • Facilitate development of annual investment plans and budgets, develop, modify, and implement strategy at the country level. Work with foundation leadership as requested to address cross-cutting issues and improve functions and performance.
  • Accountable for the identification and assessment of key portfolio risks, and the development and management of mitigation/contingency plans at the portfolio level.
  • Negotiate, implement, and manage complex portfolio of grants on service delivery innovation and foundational reforms that will improve service delivery and efficiency at population levels of scale.
  • Advise and support deep and moderate country office/teams to accelerate foundational reforms by enabling states/districts to effectively disburse funds/purchase high priority services from PHC facilities, while enabling PHC facilities to receive and use these funds.
  • Provide technical leadership, facilitation, technical assistance, mentoring and coaching in the design and implementation of health financing activities, tailored to the specific needs of the country.
  • Advice and support the strengthening platforms to improve subnational technical capacity to analyze & use data for PHC performance management.
  • Manage partnerships and grantee relationships at the country level to achieve impact, for example, by conducting site visits, convening meetings of key partners, monitoring, and evaluating components of grants
  • Support and coordinate with global financing levers to increase/scale the health impact at the country level.
  • Provide technical support in the areas of innovation in Primary Health Care (PHC) service delivery with a focus on using digital technologies to transform care.
  • Support the design and the implementation of digital innovations in service of PHC strengthening at the country level (preferably in Africa).
  • Measure results and return on investments at the country level, pivot and learn from findings to create impact, and contribute to the nascent knowledge base on strengthening service delivery through digital.

Success Criteria

  • Degree in Public Health, Health Financing, or other relevant field, Master's or Doctorate Degree preferred.
  • Leadership abilities to work with multiple partners in Nigeria, including government, other donors, grantees to create a common vision and visualize simple and effective but implementable solutions to complex problems that lead to sustainable impact.
  • Strong strategic thinker with experience developing evidence-based strategic or operational plans as well as shaping and managing sustainable and scalable ventures.
  • Experienced coalition builder and background of creating effective partnerships and establishing cross-sectoral linkages at the highest levels in government.
  • Excellent program and project management capabilities – always driving towards clear results within a timeline.
  • Clear, consistent communication in both writing and speaking.
  • Demonstrates excellent individual judgement and can act independently but also knows when to pull in additional resources or solicit others for assistance
  • Capability to understand the challenges and complexity of introducing and scaling innovations in service delivery in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) and how to work with partners and key collaborators, especially public sector entities, to overcome these challenges.
  • Experience in developing public-private partnerships is desired.
  • Comfortable in a wide range of political, cultural, geographic and operational situations, demonstrating culturally sensitive behavior with a diverse range of partners.
  • Deep understanding of PHC delivery through a service delivery lens.
  • Demonstrated working experience in health finance and health economics in developing economies, experience in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa is highly preferred.
  • Demonstrates a growth mindset with curiosity about new approaches, ability to change direction when needed, and willingness to seek feedback and course correct based on it.

Your Experience (i.e. Qualifications and Education):

  • Minimum of 10 years of relevant work experience in Public Health, Health Financing and Health Economics in African settings
  • Ideally, 7+ years of experience in a low-income country context, or equivalent experience, in working directly with ministries of health and finance, donors and implementing agencies in shaping the health care financing and innovation agendas. For example, Health Insurance and ensuring its implementation nationally and sub-nationally.
  • Track record of building strong relationships with implementing partners, donors, and officials at all levels of government.
  • In-depth understanding of the Nigerian health system and of federal and state health policy, with on-the-ground experience in northern Nigeria in particular.
  • Extensive experience with large-scale health systems strengthening interventions - including multiple approaches to strengthening that range from interventions and sectoral-specifics.
  • Established track record of carrying out analytical/diagnostic work and preparing high-quality technical reports, policy briefing materials, and presentations to influence health financing policy decision making and implementation at national and subnational levels.
  • Experience in the use of diagnostics and other decision tools to improve quality, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of care.


  • Competency 1: Can communicate intricate health systems (health financing) concepts to partners with a diverse set of backgrounds, including leadership, program staff, grantees, and other foundation operational resources
  • Competency 2: Deep experience with large-scale health systems strengthening interventions - including multiple approaches to strengthening that range from interventions and sectoral-specifics.
  • Competency 3: Strong initiative, organizational skills, and ability to work autonomously and cross-functionally while remaining flexible to changing tasks, priorities, and roles and responsibilities
  • Competency 4: Seeing ahead to future possibilities and translating them into strategies, concrete theories of change and actions. Ability to think/act like an investor and a creative and generative thinker. Innovative and open-minded approach; ability to question and challenge colleagues including managers and partners in a constructive manner.


How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply

Application Deadline  6th October 2022.


  • Hiring Requirements:
    • As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.
    • Depending upon your work location, we may require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and any recommended booster doses. All employees based in the United States are to provide proof of full vaccination upon hire and any recommended boosters, subject to applicable laws.
  • Accommodations:
    • If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request to [email protected].
  • Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship

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