TRAINEESHIP – Health Economist


Duration of Assignment: twelve months. On an exceptional basis, the duration of a traineeship assignment may be reduced to meet the availability and academic requirements of the trainee, as well as the needs of The Defeat-NCD Partnership.

This is a full-time traineeship assignment, and the selected trainees shall be expected to work five days a week. 

Number of Vacancies: multiple

Duty Station: multiple

Indicative starting date: as soon as possible 

Renumeration: A monthly stipend of CHF 700 shall be paid for trainees.



UNITAR is an autonomous body within the United Nations that was established in 1965 pursuant to a UN General Assembly resolution. UNITAR’s mission is to develop the individual, institutional and organizational capacities of countries and other United Nations stakeholders through high-quality learning solutions and related knowledge products and services to enhance decision-making and to support country-level action for overcoming global challenges.

On 28 November 2019, at its 60th session, the UNITAR Board of Trustees took note of and endorsed, the Operations Agreement between UNITAR and The Defeat-NCD Partnership (dated 23 July 2019) to host the secretariat of the Partnership. UNITAR houses the secretariat of the Defeat-NCD Partnership and other relevant strategic initiatives working in the field of noncommunicable diseases and addressing related risk factors – such as road crashes, deaths and injuries, and assisted technologies for improved health outcomes.

The Defeat-NCD Partnership is a multi-stakeholder partnership anchored in the United Nations and includes governments, multilateral agencies, civil society, academia, philanthropies, and the private sector. It was established in January 2018 to help tackle the most significant global health problems of the age: premature death, sickness, disability, and the associated social and economic impacts of selected non-communicable diseases (NCDs). It is based on the expert guidance and the technical norms and standards issued by the World Health Organization for managing NCDs.

General objectives of the contract:

The general objective of this assignment is to learn the technical and programmatic areas of our work with focus on health system costing and financing. The incumbent will be responsible to assist the production of the national costed action plan for NCDs in the Partnership country programmes and identify various financing solutions.

The purpose of this assignment is to give the trainees hands-on experience across the four pillars of the Partnership work. This assignment will prepare the trainees to pursue a leading career in NCD health economics and health financing. The trainee will support the Defeat-NCD Partnership in its efforts to lead the design, implementation, resource mobilization and reporting of its programme activities, in support of the Sustainable Development Goal 3.4. This assignment will enable populations in our programmatic countries and other priority geographies to access a range of interconnected essential services and resources through our four pillars of interventions:

  • NCD National Capacity Building (Pillar 1): Work with governments and other in-country stakeholders to assess gaps in their NCD capabilities. Through technical support develop a multi-year NCD National Costed Action Plan. Facilitate engagement of relevant partners to ensure expansion of NCD services in line with national targets. The overall objective is to ensure that countries have institutional capacities, structures, systems, and financing in place to tackle NCDs.
  • Community Scale-Up of NCD Services (Pillar 2): The Partnership aims to demystify, democratise, decentralise, and where safely possible, demedicalise NCD service provision. Enable the earlier screening and management of risk factors as well as the mitigation of established disease, at the community level. By increasing the use of self-care interventions, improve patient compliance, resulting in better treatment and health outcomes. The overall objective is to bring more of the necessary prevention and management of NCD services directly to the communities and people who need them most.
  • Affordability and Accessibility of Essential NCD Supplies (Pillar 3): To make the provision of NCD supplies simpler and more cost-effective by designing a Marketplace to create a fair, competitive environment that serves the interests of both buyers and suppliers. Using market-sizing and price-tracking studies, the Marketplace’s methodology will correct current market failures due to information imbalances. It will also help address regulatory bottlenecks in an appropriate manner. The overall objective is to enable the consistent provision of affordable essential NCD medicines, diagnostics, and equipment in low-resource countries.
  • Sustainable NCD Financing (Pillar 4): Governments need to invest more in health, with a greater share allocated to finance their national costed action plans for NCDs. While cost savings can be achieved by linking NCD programming with other conditions and improving service delivery and by reducing the cost of NCD supplies, additional and innovative financing will be needed outside of the ongoing aid support and expanding fiscal allocations. The overall objective is to establish a long-term sustainable financing model for NCD programming in low-resource countries.

Responsibilities/description of professional services:

Under the guidance of the Technical Specialist, Country Support, the trainee will gather and analyse country’s specific information and data to develop national NCD costed action plans for the Partnership country programmes in addition to developing NCD financial gap analysis and sustainable NCD financing proposals. The trainee will perform the following duties:

  • Comprehensive literature review to support the development of country situation analysis with focus on the availability and affordability of NCD Services, Financing and Supplies in country.
  • Ensure timely access to required input data needed for costing of the national NCD costed action plan with proposals of quality proxy data to be used where national data is not available.
  • Document and properly reference all assumptions used during the costing exercise.
  • Develop and prepare national NCD costed action plan as part of the capacity building efforts in programme countries.
  • Develop comprehensive analysis of the NCD funding gap and develop proposals to support sustainable NCD financing.
  • Evaluate policies and advice their economic impact on the country’s health care system and its sustainability. 
  • Pro-actively identify market access opportunities through effective planning and development of financially sound business proposals.
  • Monitor the programme activities under the four pillars of work and seek digitisation opportunities for data, content, and analytics.
  • Prepare opinion pieces, policy briefs, speeches, and presentation in support of the team.
  • Support in developing guidance on health financing and how best to maximize strategic purchasing strategies for health services and NCD Supplies.
  • Document the current situation of the Market Monitoring Service and The State of the World’s Essential Medicines and Diagnostic Supplies for Noncommunicable Diseases report.


After the assignment, the trainee should be able to:

  • Translate vision into actionable objectives.
  • Work independently and take initiative.
  • Be familiar with the Defeat-NCD Partnership’s four pillars of work.
  • Plan and organise programmes and projects.
  • Work in a multicultural environment.
  • Exposure to professionals and experts with various and unique skill sets.


  • Comprehensive country situation analysis with focus on the availability and affordability of NCD Services, Financing and Supplies in country.
  • Timely availability of quality input data for costing.
  • Development of nationally approved national NCD costed action plan.
  • NCD funding gap analysis and sustainable financing proposal.
  • Evaluation of policy and preparation of policy briefs where needed.
  • Develop timely and accurate research papers, opinion pieces, speeches and presentations.
  • Contribute to the market monitoring of NCD Medicines and Diagnostic Supplies in programme countries.
  • Perform market research and analysis to improve availability and affordability of NCD supplies.
  • Circulate and keep up to date the Partnership’s knowledge bank in all matters related to the 4 pillars on work.


The performance indicators for evaluation of results for this assignment are the following:

  • Timely and quality submission of deliverables.
  • Activities implemented with a high degree of effectiveness and efficiency.
  • High degree of professionalism demonstrated by the trainee.


  • Will have strong research and analytical skills, with the ability to quickly understand and internalise different health financing and economics related topics.
  • Demonstrated diplomatic skills and excellent interpersonal skills with sensitivity to cultural and political differences.
  • Good knowledge and experience of outreach and internal communication tools for a wide audience.
  • Excellent oral and written skills; excellent drafting, formulation, reporting skills.
  • Knowledge in using project management tool Asana ( on a daily basis is required for this assignment. Certification as an Asana Certified Pros ( or Asana Ambassador ( is preferred. Completion of relevant courses on Asana Academy ( in order to enrol on the Asana Ambassador programme is required within one month of starting this assignment.
  • The assignment requires the trainee to be self-sufficient and arrange to be equipped with the requisite professional tools and equipment to carry out this assignment such as laptop and a mobile phone.


  • Master’s degree or equivalent in health economics, economics, sustainable financing, from an accredited and recognized academic institution is required.
  • Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate/graduate/postgraduate degree or be a recent graduate of the aforementioned qualifications (if selected, they must commence the traineeship within two years of graduation).
  • Candidates should also have demonstrated, interest in event planning, customer service, administrative support, research and drafting, communications and marketing.


  • Fluency in spoken and written English is required.
  • knowledge of another United Nations official language is an asset.