Health Specialist
World Bank (World Bank)
Close on 28 Sep 2020
Location: Beirut (Lebanon)
Grade: GF, Entry Professional
Occupations: Healthcare
B Hardship
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Job Description


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. The World Bank consists of two entities – the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). It is a global development cooperative owned by 189 member countries. As the largest development bank in the world, the World Bank provides loans, guarantees, risk management products, and advisory services to middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries, and coordinates responses to regional and global challenges. Visit

Health, Nutrition, and Population (HNP) Global Practice

The central contribution of the HNP Global Practice to the World Bank’s twin goals is to enable the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), in which all people are effectively covered by essential health services, and nobody suffers undue financial hardship as a result of illnesses. In the quest for UHC, the HNP Global Practice is building on progress made in the framework of the Millennium Development Goals, an array of analytical and advisory services, strategic partnerships with partner institutions and other financing agencies, and an active lending portfolio. The HNP Global Practice includes staff members in Washington, DC and many country offices. The HNP Global Practices works with and across multiple sectors, in recognition of the fact that HNP outcomes often depend on actions that lie outside the HNP sector. Accordingly, a capacity to work across GP boundaries, forge coalitions and influence multi-practice solutions is essential for achieving the major objectives of improving HNP outcomes.

Middle East and North Africa Region

The World Bank Group serves client countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Clients range from oil-dependent high-income countries to lower middle-income, IDA and FCV countries. Four years ago, in response to the region's changing circumstances, the WBG launched a new strategy focused on promoting peace and stability. To support the new economy, the WBG is expanding the MENA strategy. Three new priorities have been added to the original four pillars of renewing the social contract, building resilience for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), developing regional cooperation and supporting recovery and reconstruction. The three new priorities are: harnessing the region's human capital, leveraging technologies for a new digital economy, and developing the private sector through maximizing finance for development. The MNA Region serves 20 countries, of which a number are active IBRD or IDA borrowers/recipients, while others are users of non-lending services, which the Region provides on either a reimbursable or a non-reimbursable basis. The two-pronged approach will be adapted to the circumstances of every country in the region, from high-income Gulf countries to middle-income countries (e.g., Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia), and fragile and conflict-affected countries (e.g., Iraq, Yemen, Libya). The MNA Region also supports state and peace building in West Bank and Gaza under the Trust Fund for Gaza and the West Bank, established in 1993. The MNA Region attaches particular importance to creating a supportive work environment, based on the values of teamwork, transparency, trust, client service, and professional excellence. MNA staff is expected to be guided by these values as well as to possess the following attributes: (i) collegiality, creativeness, resourcefulness; (ii) good listening and communications skills; (iii) intellectual and personal integrity and competence; (iv) willingness and ability to work in teams; and (v) commitment to clients. MNA has an open environment that encourages teamwork.

Country Context

Despite protracted periods of instability, Lebanon attained significant improvements in the health outcomes. Between 1990 and 2018, the infant mortality rate dropped from 26.8 deaths per 1,000 live births to 6.4 deaths, under-five mortality rate declined from 32.3 to 7.4 deaths per 1,000 live births, and the neonatal mortality rate dropped from 20.5 per 1,000 live births to 4.3[1]. Life expectancy has also improved, rising from 70.3 years to 78.8 years. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) decreased from 28 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000 to reach 23 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010. However, after the Syrian crisis, the MMR started to increase to reach 29 per 100,000 in 2017[2], with the MMR among the displaced Syrians is double that among the Lebanese. Despite the gains that Lebanon made in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there are regional disparities in health outcomes with Beqaa and the North having lower rates than national averages.

The 2015 National Health Accounts indicate that Lebanon spends 7.83% of its GDP on health. Government health expenditure as a share of Total Health Expenditure (THE) is 49.29% while out-of-pocket (OOP) health spending is high at 33.74% and the burden of health expenditure is falling more on households and is shared disproportionately among the different income levels, subjecting a large proportion of the population to financial hardship and impoverishment. Around 50 percent of the citizens are un-insured with the of Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) serving as the insurer of last resort for inpatient care. Accumulated government deficit in the hospital sector leaving many uninsured Lebanese at risk of unmet hospital care. Chronic hospital arrears have had a significant impact on the hospitals’ cash flow, threatening the sustainability of hospital operations. With most of the pharmaceuticals and equipment being imported, pharmaceuticals are a key cost driver in the health sector.With more than half of households’ spending and MoPH’s 22 percent spending on pharmaceuticals, this sector poses a significant impact on the health budget. The government spends 62% of its budget on curative care services whereas less than 1 percent is spent on preventive care. Given the aging population profile and the continued high burden of NCDs and its impact on the economy of the country, there is a need to increase investments in preventive care. Adding to these challenges is the influx of Syrian refugees and the dramatic increase in demand for health services. The immediate impact of the rapid increase in patients over a short time period has primarily been met through existing structures at an accelerated rate, along with depletion of resources.

The on-going financial crisis in Lebanon is having a devastating effect on the health sector. It is not only affecting an already strained public sector but is also spilling over to the private sector. More importantly, it is hitting all the people, namely the poor and low-to-middle income class. Financial strains on the health sector were further exacerbated by increased demand for health services due to COVID-19. At the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, Lebanon has been successful in containing the spread of the disease despite the ongoing financial crisis. Since early July, however, the country has been experiencing a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases with community transmissions in many locations.

The Bank’s program in Lebanon focuses on these key challenges in the sector through policy dialog, lending and technical assistance.

The HNP team for Lebanon includes staff in the Country Office in Beirut, other MENA countries, and Washington DC. To strengthen the team, the WBG is recruiting a GF level Health Specialist position based in Beirut. The Health Specialist will support the World Bank’s HNP portfolio in Lebanon, the broader Human Development (HD) agenda, including the ongoing policy dialogue with Government counterparts and partners, preparation of analytical products, and the preparation and implementation of operations in the sector.

Duties and Accountabilities

The Health Specialist will report to the HNP Practice Manager and will be responsible for the following tasks and duties:
  • Lead and contribute to high-quality analytical and advisory services tasks (and sub-tasks) related to health systems strengthening, addressing public health challenges, linking health to broader human development topics, and/or related topics in the Middle East and North Africa context.
  • Support task teams in the preparation, implementation support, of lending operations with a focus on health system strengthening, governance and management, and quality of care, the delivery of people-centered care, and strengthened primary health care, within the context of Universal Health Coverage.
  • Take primary responsibility, under the guidance of project team leaders, for coordinating the monitoring and evaluation of projects, and manage reporting and coordination relationships with development partners.
  • Participate in and contribute to technical assistance work to support relevant capacity-building activities including workshops, seminars, etc.
  • Participate in and contribute to policy dialogue with government counterparts - including at the national and sub-national levels - and with other relevant stakeholders.
  • Help teams with building and maintaining partnerships and networks within the Bank (in HNP as well as other sectors) and with external partners.
  • Provide limited cross-support to selected task teams working on other countries in the region as needed.

Selection Criteria

  • At least a Master’s degree in public health, economics, health policy or related discipline, with a minimum of 5 years of relevant experience. A PhD, MD and experience in the health sector would be advantageous.
  • Knowledge of and experience with the health sector in Lebanon – including institutional set up, healthcare delivery management and community engagement.
  • Familiarity with the World Bank or similar donor agency procedures and processes would be advantageous.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with a wide range of stakeholders, including senior government counterparts, private sector partners and representatives of development partners.
  • Demonstrated track record of synthesizing complex analytics and results into user-friendly written outputs.
  • Proven analytical skills linking health topics, and the ability to inform high-level policy dialogue through strong communications (including writing) skills (in English and Arabic).
  • Strong communication and track record on successful working as a team member.
  • Proactive and results-focused work style with strong problem-solving capabilities.
  • Knowledge and experience working in multicultural institution is desirable.
In addition to the above, the successful candidate is expected to demonstrate the following WBG competencies:
  • Integrative Skills - Understands core issues and knows where to get additional expertise when needed. Task team member in integrative products and provides analytical written inputs.
  • Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena - Understands policy making process and role of the health sector in that process. Is able to find relevant information and examine similar policy questions in multiple regions and to distill operationally relevant recommendations and lessons from this analysis for clients.
  • Policy Dialogue Skills - Identifies and assesses policy issues and communicates findings/points of view verbally and through economic reports and papers.Plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders as part of Bank teams.
  • Client Orientation - Maintains client relationships in the face of conflicting demands or directions and provides evidence-based advice and solutions based on sound diagnosis and knowledge.
  • Drive for Results - Identifies the needed resources to accomplish results involving multiple stakeholders and finds solutions to obstacles affecting key deliverables.
  • Teamwork (Collaboration) and Inclusion - Shows leadership in ensuring the team stays organized and focused, and actively seeks and considers diverse ideas and approaches.

Poverty has no borders, neither does excellence. We succeed because of our differences and we continuously search for qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds from around the globe.

About World Bank

With 189 member countries, staff from more than 170 countries, and offices in over 130 locations, the World Bank Group is a unique global partnership: five institutions working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries.

World Bank's mission is to end extreme poverty by reducing the share of the global population that lives in extreme poverty to 3 percent by 2030, and to promote shared prosperity by increasing the incomes of the poorest 40 percent of people in every country.