Consultancy: Development of Communication Plan for HPV vaccine introduction, Lesotho


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Background and Justification

Human papillomavirus (HPV) refers to a group of more than 100 highly transmissible and common viruses, primarily transmitted through sexual contact. While most HPV infections resolve spontaneously or become undetectable, some HPV infections caused by high-risk HPV type strains can persist and lead to cervical cancer in women, and oral and anal cancers in both men and women. Globally, cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer in women, with an estimated 530,000 new cases a year, resulting in 266,000 deaths. Developing countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America account for the highest incidence rates. The HPV vaccine is available since 2006 for the prevention of cervical cancer. The World Health Organization recommends two doses of HPV vaccine at 6 – 12 months interval for girls aged 9-14 years in countries where cervical cancer is a public health issue.

Lesotho experiences approximately 312 cases of cervical cancer every year and 185 of cervical cancer cases result in death. The Ministry of Health through Family Health Division sent a request to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for support in re-introduction of HPV to girls aged 9 -13 years. The request was approved, and Lesotho was granted approval to apply for a vaccine re-introduction grant in which will be administered nationally in 2020 to girls between 09 and 13 years.

The sensitivity of the vaccine and that it is only being administered to young girls and therefore demands a separate and well planned out communication and risk strategy to address and sensitize the various audiences with appropriate messages through an assortment of communication channels.

Previous experiences of HPV vaccine introduction programmes have shown, that the vaccine has often been prone to rumours and suspicions about its safety and perceived negative impact on fertility. Additionally, any AEFIs not immediately investigated and managed have had the potential to trigger distrust in the vaccine and the health services. It is against the above premise, that UNICEF Lesotho is recruiting an experienced and technically strong international consultant for immediate deployment in Lesotho to support the Health and C4D team at country level. The consultant will be tasked with developing the national HPV Communication & Social Mobilization focussing on conveying the benefits and safety of the vaccine, building trust in the vaccine and the health-workers delivering the vaccine.The plan is also expected to have strong crisis management component that will enable its implementors to track rumors, misconceptions and AEFI at field level.

Scope of Work

Goal and Objective:

Under the supervision of the Communicaiton for Development Specialist, Programme, and in close collaboration with the EPI technical working team and Health Education Division, the consultant will provide technical support in developing, implementing, monitoring and reporting of the HPV communication plan as part of the planned new vaccine introductions strategy in the country.

This assignment aims to strengthen country level efforts to develop and implement effective communication plans to re-introduce HPV vaccination that would result in increased public and community awareness about HPV and wider HPV vaccine acceptance and uptake. The assignment also aims to strengthen the Ministry of Health to track rumours, misconceptions around HPV and AEFI at field level

The tasks outlined in this Terms of Reference, will contribute to achieving the commitments from GAVI in support of National HPV vaccine introduction into routine immunization services in 2019. We invite suitable C4D consultants at P3 level.

Activities and Tasks:

Data reporting and evidence based programme planning:

Support the national EPI technical working group in collecting, collating, and analyzing data generated through desk review, key-informant interviews and FGDs as part of formative research on perceptions of HPV vaccine among the community members in the country.

Communication Training and Capacity building:

Utilize data generated through FGD etc to develop a costed social mobilization, community engagement, and communication plans for HPV introduction, to support community demand and participation for routine immunization under the existing national and district communication strategies and respond to rumours, misconceptions and AEFI surrounding HPV.
Facilitate through training the development of a national social mobilization and community engagement for HPV intensified immunization for stakeholders and partners at national, district and sub-district.
Facilitate a training of health workers on crisis communication.
Facilitate the design and implementation of district specific plans of actions for HPV re-introduction with crisis plans for each district.

Messaging and Materials

Provide technical support on production of IEC materials (media and print) for HPV intensified immunization as new vaccine introduction.
Engage stakeholders in developing appropriate key messages and multiple channel approaches for advocacy, communication for behaviour change and social mobilization, including crisis communication on AEFI, rumours and misinformation on HPV;

Monitoring and documentation

Monitor and document the quality and impact of communication approaches, i.e., toward achieving wider acceptance and coverage of the HPV vaccination programme among intended stakeholders and beneficiaries.

Work relationships: In the execution of this assignment the consultant will be working closely with the EPI technical working group, the Health Education Division and other stakeholders involved in the EPI programme.




(Estimated # of days or months)


Schedule of payment

Inception report

5 days

10 July 2019

10 percent

Formative research report


7 August 2019

40 percent

Costed communication plans with, messaging and supporting IEC materials

25 Days

11 September 2019

40 percent

Final report documenting the process and impact

5 days

20 September 2019

10 percent

Desired profile

Advanced university degree in the social/behavioral sciences (Communication, Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, Health Education) with proven experience in the field of Communication for Development, health education/promotion, community mobilization, social marketing, participatory communication, new technologies and research.
At least 5 years of progressively responsible professional work experience in the development, planning and management of social development programmes, including several years in developing countries -preferably in Sub-Saharan Africa, with practical experience in the adaptation and application of SBCC strategy planning processes to specific programmes.
Previous experience in HPV programming is an asset.
Excellent analytical and advocacy skills,
Full computer literacy, including knowledge of relevant software;
High proficiency in English (a sample of recent analytical report will be requested).
Experience in team work in culturally diverse contexts.
Ability to complete the tasks in a tight schedule and with limited supervision.

Administrative issues

The candidate selected will be governed by and subject to UNICEF General Terms and Conditions for individual contracts

The consultant will work on its own computer(s) and materials in the execution of this assignment.
The work of the consultant is full-time and office based; but is required to visit districts for data collection and consultations.
The consultant payment is delivery based (1st 10%, 2nd 40%, 3rd 40% and 4th 10%), inclusive of travel (a two-way travel based on economy class fares), living allowance and professional fees; when the consultant is to travel outside Maseru and stay overnights, related Living allowance will be inclusive of the total contract value.
As per UNICEF DFAM policy, payment is made against approved deliverables. No advance payment is allowed unless in exceptional circumstances against bank guarantee, subject to a maximum of 30 per cent of the total contract value in cases where advance purchases, for example for supplies or travel, may be necessary.
The contractor job is for fulltime and Office-based; he/she will require visiting districts for data collections (10 working days).
Please also see UNICEF Standard Terms and Conditions attached.


UNICEF Lesotho 2019-2022 Country Programme Document (CPD) was developed with a risk-informed programming lens to support sustainable programs, considering assumptions for the pro-jects success. The development of the CPD, through which this activity will contribute to, analysed the vulnerabilities, systems, capacities, resources, and looked at the risks beneficiaries may face to prevent the risk or mitigate the impact. The risks associated with the implementation of this activity are minimal and below the global threshold set by UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office. The risks will be managed through constant monitoring, providing early warning of potential issues in programme implementation, and advocacy with GOL officials. All reasonable and likely risks should be identified and a relevant risk response and possible mitigating action defined.

How to Apply

Qualified candidates are requested to complete an application including profile to the respective advertisement on Please indicate your ability, availability and financial proposal/quote to complete the terms of reference above. Additionally, applications should include a project plan, including a detailed proposed methodology, outlining how all activities and deliverables will be completed.

Rates must include all expenses related to the assignment (e.g. consultancy fee, travel/flights, living allowance).

Applications submitted without a fee/rate or project plan will not be considered.

If you have not been contacted within 2 months of the closing date please accept that your application was unsuccessful. Regret emails will be sent only to shortlisted/contacted candidates.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.


Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.


UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link

Closing Date: Tue Jun 18 2019 23:55:00 GMT+0200 (South Africa Standard Time)