Uganda, Tanzania or Ethiopia 

Application closing date


Start date



6, 12 or 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 newborns (hyperlink naar NICU report).

In Tanzania our Accelerated Care and Treatment (ACT) project is aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal deaths in Lindi and Mtwara regions (eight sites), building capacity across the care continuum (training MNH staff, introducing V-scan technology, establishing NICU’s, Emergency Triage Assessment and Treatment (ETAT)).

You will be working in a clinical role providing direct patient care, working alongside local colleagues in the hospital’s paediatric ward, NICU and other health facilities.  While doing so you will work towards sustainable improvement of (access to) care:

  • Build the capacity of health workers and clinical senior staff in management of essential newborn and maternal care through training, coaching and mentoring
  • Support development of strategies, manuals and protocols for Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). Advising, where needed, on the NICU refurbishment and set-up process.
  • Take the lead in the design of all specialist paediatric medical services (specifically for newborns) working together with hospital/health facility staff

Specific activities could include:

  • Identify skill gaps in the area of neonatal and pediatric patient diagnosis and treatment and provide training to health workers through on-the-job training, coaching and mentorship
  • Support the Regional Health Management Team to strengthen the existing – and establish new NICUs and paediatric high dependency unit/ICUs
  • Support the establishment and institutionalization of perinatal death reviews, strengthen data recording system and promote perinatal audit meeting.
  • Support the standardization of neonatal and pediatric patient diagnosis and treatment procedures and protocols in line with the national standards.
  • Strengthen the nutrition and malnutrition/feeding unit of the hospital
  • Support the strengthening of the Emergency Triage Assessment and Treatment (ETAT)
  • Conduct Trainings of Trainers jointly with VSO volunteer (neonatal nurse) for District trainers and clinical leads in management of common new-born problems and essential maternal care (asphyxia, severe infection & kangaroo care)
  • Jointly conduct support supervision visits with District Health Office (DHO) to targeted Health Facilities (HFs); providing advice and mentoring to both DHO and Health worker (HW)
  • Roll out of quality initiatives for the NICU and labour ward (specific to newborn care)
  • Prepare and submit monthly plans and reports to VSO and partner, including documenting best practices, lessons learned, and case studies
  • 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).

Skills, qualifications and experience

An ideal candidate will have a strong clinical background, relevant work experience and most importantly teaching/coaching experience in the health sector.

  • Qualification as a pediatrician or medical doctor with advanced degree and an advanced clinical background on pediatric care
  • At least 7 years of work experience in pediatric care with progressively increasing responsibilities
  • Training experience: clinical training skills including participatory and experiential methods.
  • Current knowledge in the field of maternal and pediatric health, including some or all of the following: newborn care, neonatal resuscitation, neonatal jaundice, neonatal infection, etc.
  • Solid communication, presentation and writing skills.
  • Demonstrated self-management (i.e. motivation, dealing with pressure, adaptability).

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.