Uganda, Tanzania or Ethiopia

Application closing date

Flexibele/ not applicable/ any time

Start date



6, 12, 24 months

Talented health professionals doing extraordinary things are at the heart of what we do at VSO. We enable you to share your passion for improving the lives of millions. Together we can strengthen the delivery of health services and healthcare systems in some of the world’s poorest communities. VSO health programs target the whole continuum of care from adolescence, pregnancy and newborn care. We focus on the most vulnerable people, who have limited access to care through lack of information or resources and who face physical or cultural barriers to access quality SRH and obstetric services.

As a VSO volunteer, you will immerse yourself in a new culture, face fresh challenges and develop your expertise, and often also management skills while doing something truly fulfilling. The local office or partner’s need will decide your exact job description.

Role overview

As part of our Maternal and Neonatal health work in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. we have been very successful in working with local partners (Ministry of Health, referral hospitals) to establish Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICU) in bigger referral hospitals, enabling life-saving interventions for neonates. In Ethiopia for instance, we have helped to establish and equip the units, train it’s staff and assisted Ministry of Health in making NICU’s a sustainable and standardized service in many hospitals across the country.

You will be working in a clinical role providing direct patient care, working alongside local colleagues in the NICU.  While doing so you will work towards sustainable improvements:

  • Strengthen health worker’s knowledge and skills at the NICU and other departments to deliver specialized neonatal care through on-the-job training, mentoring and more formal training
  • Support the NICU in improved day to day management, protocols, planning, reporting, support supervision, etc. Identify gaps in the neonatal/pediatric outpatient and inpatient department which contribute to poor quality care and treatment and develop an action plan accordingly
  • Improve team working in the unit and across disciplines by acting as a role model, conducting team building and learning events, encouraging an atmosphere where learning and self- reflection is valued and appreciated. Improve learning opportunities for staff and students (e.g. through mentor training, train-the-trainer)
  • Support the improvement of neonatal referral pathways by coaching rural health clinic staff and community health workers in newborn care.
  • Contribute to improved accessibility and availability of newborn health services in the surrounding health facilities and advise on clinical support supervision and management of newborn health services. Conduct baseline assessments and develop proposals to establish/strengthen neonatal intensive care unit in collaboration with the hospital management
  • Lead and support establishment/ Strengthening of neonatal intensive care units and new-born corners in the targeted hospitals and health centers
  • Act as a technical advisor for the VSO Health program team and (with other VSO volunteers) take joint responsibility to maintain and improve the partner relationship and work towards the wider objectives of the Health project you are taking part in.

Normally you would not be on-call outside office hours (unless agreed beforehand with VSO and the hospital).  You will be managed both by the relevant departmental head of the hospital (your daily ward duties) and by VSO (in terms of your wellbeing and security, overall behavior and performance as a VSO professional, program objectives, providing advise and support in case of difficulties).

Essential skills, qualifications and experience:

  • Qualified (BSc or MSc) Neonatal Nurse or Paediatric Nurse with neonatal experience
  • Fully registered and accredited by the relevant professional body in your country of residence
  • Overall 3-5 years experience as a registered nurse, at least 2 years’ experience working as a neonatal nurse or working in Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU)


  • Experience in mentoring/training of nurses or student nurses
  • Experience in working abroad in a similar setting/context (Africa/Asia)

Besides these skills, you need to be openminded, respectful, resilient and adaptive to new situations. It is important that you can facilitate positive change, build sustainable working relationships and are willing to seek and share knowledge.

Terms & conditions

VSO will cover and support you in all preparations: training, visa, work permit, registration in-country, flights, vaccinations, anti-malarial treatment, PEP treatment, medical and security clearance. In-country VSO will provide induction and support in placement, arrange secure accommodation (often shared with another VSO professional), full medical insurance (including repatriation cover), medical indemnity insurance, work-related travel costs and a living allowance which will enable you to live a basic but healthy lifestyle, but which is not sufficient to cover ongoing commitments at home.

What we do at VSO

Our programs focus on the areas of health, education and livelihoods, with an increasing emphasis on resilience building, social accountability, gender and social inclusion. We believe progress is only possible when we work together and that strong partnerships are crucial to delivering positive change. That’s why we work with over 500 partner organizations, from local and national governments to businesses, NGOs, funders, charities and community groups. Currently, over 30% of our people are recruited from within the country in which they work, and we continue to grow the share of community and national volunteers involved in our programs. We also send increasing numbers of volunteers from one developing country to another. However, our vision has remained the same; to build a world without poverty.

The experience of a placement is a one-of-a-life-time experience and will benefit you in multiple ways. You will have the chance to learn to work with people from different cultural backgrounds. There is often the opportunity to develop your teamwork-, leadership- and management skills. This can be helpful for career opportunities after your placement.


The world currently faces challenges on a scale not seen in a century. As a global organization, efforts to control COVID-19 will certainly result in changes to VSO’s activities and operations in the coming months. At this moment we are not sending international professional volunteers abroad. We have dedicated teams monitoring the situation, working across locations, programmes and projects to ensure we respond appropriately and responsibly – and that no one is left behind. We’ll continue to recruit professional volunteers and maintain a talent pool, to be prepared to work with them in the face of this uncertainty to plan for the future and build a fair world for everyone. If you have any questions about our current programs and where we currently operate, don’t hesitate to contact our recruiter Hans.

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Help make a change on a global scale

VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organization that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries. Find out about the work we’re doing in the fight against poverty.

Is this vacancy not quite what you are looking for?

Our most common vacancies are summarized in our vacancy bank. You will find an overview at ‘Check out all vacancies’. Because we work in a very dynamic and fast-changing environment we advise you to go to our international website for an overview of our current demand in Africa and Asia.