Senior Program Officer - Polio Eradication 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 - Polio Eradication

Job Requisition ID: B020360
Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Job type: Full time

The Team

  • This is an exciting time to join the foundation’s Polio Team with the 2022-2026 global strategy announcement at the World Health Assembly. The Polio Team works with partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) as well as with country governments, donors and other collaborators to build and implement the Polio eradication strategy.
  • We do this by developing relationships and uplifting each other through our journey together. We believe that energized people, working well together, motivated by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things!
  • The foundation’s Leadership Team is invested in our success, as we continue to provide updates, identify key risks, and build engagement opportunities.

Job Description

  • As a key member of the Polio Outbreak team, the Senior Program Officer – Polio Eradication will be responsible for intensifying the engagement of the foundation with key partners (WHO, UNICEF, CDC, Rotary International, and Gavi) and national polio eradication programs in Nigeria to interrupt variant poliovirus transmission.
  • The emphasis will be on improving the impact of the broad range of foundation assets in these country settings to enhance the quality of supplementary immunization activities, to strengthen acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance and routine immunization, and to build a supportive environment for the application of new tools and strategies to improve the chances of polio eradication.
  • They will directly engage with key stakeholders of the national and provincial polio eradication program in Nigeria to help drive outcomes that accelerate the elimination of all polioviruses to achieve certification of global polio eradication by 2026.
  • Candidates need to demonstrate an enthusiasm for public health programming in an emergency context, excel in managing complex partnerships, and have a track record in driving towards measurable, time-bound results.
  • Ideal candidates will be energized by using their exceptional operational and project management skills to help others organize around and complete a set of goals, have demonstrated interpersonal skills to manage stakeholders at all levels, and have impeccable attention to detail.
  • The Senior Program Officer - Polio Eradication will be based at the foundation’s Abuja office in Nigeria.
  • This position reports to the Deputy Director, Polio Outbreaks, based in London.

What You’ll Do

  • Collaborate with foundation teams in Seattle, international development partners and grantees, and national and state governments in Nigeria to ensure the successful implementation of national and state strategies to eradicate polio.
  • Identify, develop, and support the implementation of activities in Nigeria to rapidly improve the quality of supplementary immunization activities and AFP surveillance, with a focus on the Kano and Kaduna states, including:
    • Consistent and high levels of quality technical assistance.
    • Rapid and regular reviews of surveillance data.
    • Improved independent monitoring and reporting.
    • Sustained country engagement and dedication to polio eradication.
    • Improved community demand and participation in immunization.
  • Support foundation efforts to identify and address immunity gaps that sustain circulation of wild polioviruses in sub-populations (e.g., migrant groups, nomadic populations, and hard-to-reach children), particularly in LGAs with variant poliovirus transmission.
  • Collaborate with state and LGA administration, security forces, and partners on strategies to improve immunization services to children affected by security and conflict situations.
  • Participate in state and LGA-level technical reviews of program operations, surveillance reviews, and reviews of communication and community engagement efforts to improve family and community participation in immunization activities.
  • Provide input to state and LGA-level programs and partners on appropriate levels of financial resource requirements for polio eradication.


  • MPH or other post-secondary Degree with relevance to Public Health and Administration, International Development, Business Administration, or equivalent combination of Education and experience.
  • A track record in public health program management implementation.
  • Proven track record of forging strong partnerships and relationships with Nigeria/developing country policymakers and development partners.
  • Experience developing and managing projects in a matrix team environment.
  • Experience working in Nigeria preferred.
  • Experience with immunization and/or polio eradication in Nigeria or other developing countries in the African region setting is useful, but not required.
  • Experience working with global partners such as GPEI, Gavi, WHO, UNICEF, and/or experience in Nigeria/developing country settings, with knowledge of government health systems and political structures.

Other Attributes:

  • Demonstrated proficiency in influencing the effective implementation of public health/immunization programs leading to demonstrable health outcomes, preferably in a developing country.
  • Proven skills in engaging and interacting with national health/immunization programs in developing countries, including the understanding of program planning and operations, program reviews, and program financial resource requirements.
  • A high level of personal initiative and ability to be proactive, combined with great partnership skills.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to clearly communicate with a wide range of partners and audiences, including with the foundation senior management.
  • Ability to travel up to 50%, within Nigeria and internationally.
  • A knack for building momentum and driving action in matrixed environments, helping others to move beyond ‘business as usual’ and generate/implement innovative solutions.
  • Ability to identify new and opportunistic partnerships to achieve program goals.
  • Demonstrated understanding of key cultural and social issues impacting the effective administration of public health programs in a developing country context.


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

Application Deadline  26th June, 2024