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Principal Officer - Maternal, Newborn, Child & Health (three-year LTE)

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Nairobi, Kenya
Posted on Friday, June 7, 2024

The Foundation

We are the largest nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. Founded on a simple premise: people everywhere, regardless of identity or circumstances, should have the chance to live healthy, productive lives. We believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve. We provide an exceptional benefits package to employees and their families which include comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage with no premiums, generous paid time off, paid family leave, foundation-paid retirement contribution, regional holidays, and opportunities to engage in several employee communities. As a workplace, we’re committed to creating an environment for you to thrive both personally and professionally.

The Team

The Gender Equality Division’s mission it to ensure women and girls in Africa and South Asia can enjoy good health, make their own choices, earn their own money, and be leaders in their societies. When women and girls have an equal chance to thrive and lead, everyone benefits. We know that women and girls are not a monolith. A woman’s experience and the barriers she faces are different depending on factors like where she lives, how old she is, and how much money her family has—alongside other factors including her race, caste, and education level. We seek to address these compounding barriers through deep partnership with our grantees. As a philanthropy, our role is to listen to and learn from these experts. We take risks in new areas, prove concepts, and bring these ideas to governments, partner organizations, and private sector companies to scale. The Gender Equality Division builds off our existing strengths as a foundation in areas like global health and data, partnering closely with all our global divisions.

The Maternal, Newborn, Child Nutrition & Health (MNCNH) Team is responsible for an end-to-end approach focused on product discovery, development, introduction, and scale of novel and existing high impact products for women, adolescent girls, and children in low-resource settings. Our approach targets underlying biological vulnerability and seeks to intervene as early as possible in the life course. We fund development on a core set of products that range in type (including drugs, foods, microbes, risk algorithms, and devices), technical risk (from novel concepts to product substitutions), and development phase (from early discovery to late-stage efficacy testing and implementation research). We also support launch and introduction planning of a subset of our core products that are further in the development process to accelerate country adoption and uptake in the global architecture and drive impact at scale. These products target pregnancy risk, maternal undernutrition, prematurity, neonatal encephalopathy, child wasting, child neurodevelopment and maternal morbidity. Our team is multidisciplinary and includes physician scientists with backgrounds in obstetrics and pediatrics, perinatal epidemiologists, and professionals in neurodevelopment, nutrition research, engineering, global health, strategy development and industry-experienced market and commercialization experts. We emphasize in-country partnership to integrate the local context into research and development.

Your Role

The Principal Officer - Maternal, Newborn, Child & Health (MNCH), will primarily focus on:

  • Creating global partnerships/ecosystems that deliver on our goal to make innovative medicines and devices sustainably accessible to pregnant women and newborns in Low- and Middle-Income countries (LMICs).

  • Partnering with foundation country offices and key partners in-country to identify areas of strategic alignment and overlap with policies and priorities to accelerate impact in the MNCH space.

  • Representing the foundation externally within the global ecosystem and engaging deeply with key multilateral and development partners and donors (e.g. USAID, World Bank, Beginnings Fund).

  • Representing the MNCH space and driving leadership engagement at the new Women’s Health Industry Leaders (WHIL) Roundtable initiative within the Gender Equality Division to develop collaborative efforts in priority areas aimed at improving health outcomes for women and newborns.

  • Being a key external voice as an MNCH-recognized global leader in advancing guidelines, policies, and funding across relevant MNCH scale levers.

This is a limited-term position (LTE) for three years, based in Nairobi, Kenya. The postholder will report to the Director, Health, Africa, with a dotted line to the Director, Maternal, Newborn, Child Nutrition and Health.

What You'll Do

The selected candidate will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Lead strategy development and execution efforts on areas for new collaborations, focusing on strengthening maternal and newborn care in our target communities, and closing some of the key access gaps. Strategy will encompass Research & Development (R&D) through registration and commercialization and delivery, as well as all manner of external scientific affairs and medical affairs.

  • Develop specific projects that are cross-organizational and cross-stakeholder to maximize the potential on-the-ground impact. Examples of external partners include senior government officials WHO leadership, leaders in African Ministries of Health, leaders of key civil society organizations and implementing partners, as well as philanthropic co-funders.

  • Lead the strategy and execution of all programs conceived, including budget assessment, implementation partner management, tracking of metrics and evaluation, reporting back to key BMGF leadership.

  • Collaborate with other members of the MNCH team to formally manage investments co-funded with key partners, and work with business partners to implement investments.

  • Co-chair a council of women’s health industry leaders and foundation leaders who will govern the work of the new WHIL Roundtable initiative.

  • Identify and help to implement areas of collaboration by engaging with counterparts in other program strategy teams within Gender Equality and other foundation divisions.

  • Develop content and present as needed for Co-Chair learning sessions, updates, and other leadership engagements.

  • Other special projects as assigned.

Your Experience

  • Strong clinical background and MD training (e.g. Obstetrics and Gynecology, or Pediatrics, Neonatology) required.

  • 15+ years of relevant experience at multi-national pharmaceutical, biotech, or life sciences firm, with proven roles of increasing leadership and impact.

  • Biopharmaceutical and/or consumer health experience in commercial development and/or marketing of vaccine, drugs, or devices, including strategy development, end-to-end product, or market development, and/or global access.

  • Deep understanding of the maternal and newborn child health landscape and understanding of latest evidence-based practices and technical issues.

  • Implementation experience for large scale global health programs on the ground in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia is highly desirable.

  • Experience working in resource-constrained hospital, clinic, or community settings in LMICs and/or developing/emerging markets in healthcare or consumer settings (e.g., regional or country office operations experience).

  • Strong experience in working effectively with senior decision makers and/or executives as it pertains to strategy development and implementation.

  • Balanced strategic thinking and execution with high quality; tolerance for ambiguity and ability to apply structure to simplify complex problems.

  • Strong listening, verbal, and written communications skills; ability to calibrate input and synthesize information to connect with diverse audiences.

  • Ability to provide strategic advice and a proven ability to lead and influence others to ensure successful execution. Demonstrated ability to work with efficiency, diplomacy, and flexibility, particularly as part of a team. Experience working in teams with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds.

  • Experience in a role requiring collaboration in a complex organization and working with multiple and very varied external organizations.

  • Motivated to “roll up sleeves” to implement and deliver on commitments as an adaptive and proactive self-starter, in the most practical and efficient way.

  • Ability to work on complex problems and collaboratively crafting and rapidly iterating solutions that have the potential for transformational change.

  • Ability to communicate data and results to inform sound strategic and tactical decisions on complex and technical issues.

Other Attributes

  • Comfortable in a wide range of cultural, geographic and operational situations, demonstrating culturally sensitive behaviour with a diverse range of people and a deep commitment to development issues and high standards of personal integrity.

  • Ability to travel up to 50% domestically and internationally.

Application deadline: 15 June 2024

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Hiring Requirements

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Candidate Accommodations

If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request here.

Inclusion Statement

We are dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We strive for a global and cultural workplace that supports ever greater diversity, equity, and inclusion — of voices, ideas, and approaches — and we support this diversity through all our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.