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Director General of Health - Kiribati

Abt Associates
  • Long term adviser position, initial 6-month contract with possible 18-month extension
  • Position based in Kiribati working within the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS)
  • Salary of AUD $17,000-19,000 per month plus additional support costs/allowances

About the Opportunity

The Director General of Health will provide senior and strategic support and guidance to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) in Kiribati and contribute to strengthening the overall health system with an emphasis on priorities such as equity, universal health coverage and the health system building blocks and accountability, in the context of changing demographic and disease trends.

Reporting to the Secretary of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) you will be responsible for:

  • Supporting national health strategic planning and performance review, based on clear articulation of both the health sector short- and long-term goals; this will include restoring or re-invigorating health system functions as the country moves into a pandemic recovery phase, while retaining capacity, vigilance and adaptability in case COVID variants of concern or other health threats re-emerge in Kiribati and the Pacific.
  • Ensuring strong linkages between technical areas in the Ministry, providing relevant support to the Directors of Hospital Services, Nursing Services and Public Health with consideration of a people-centred approach to health-care delivery, which cuts across multiple service areas.
  • Providing leadership in strategic regulatory and legal processes, workplace planning, performance and efficiency, annual planning and financial management and budgeting.
  • Guiding, coordinating and, where necessary, commissioning technical support for systematic analyses of population and disease trends, with a particular focus on likelihood of outbreaks, increasing cases of specific health issues and ensuring that appropriate planning is in place to appropriately mitigate and/or respond to these.
  • Providing a whole of Ministry approach to improving health, with a particular focus on health system building blocks, including long-term HR planning, location of service delivery sites and, in collaboration with the World Bank and other relevant development partners, financing models and options.
  • Liaising extensively with technical and bilateral development partners to ensure externally provided support is appropriate, relevant and well-coordinated, and to identify areas where additional support may be needed.
  • Providing guidance on a whole of government approach to health improvement, with a particular emphasis on One Health approaches (environmental factors, human-animal health interactions and the impact of climate change) and infrastructure.
  • Working with the Executive Management Committee and Health Information Unit to identify critical information gaps and leverage opportunities for strategic research, with appropriate ethical considerations, to support decision making.
  • Leading the Policy and Planning Unit, ensuring it provides support for the effective use of policy and plans in the MHMS.
  • Supporting the introduction of digital health, as appropriate, and consider appropriate models for and use of virtual consultation / telehealth, outreach programmes and AI (artificial intelligence) approaches to reduce domestic and overseas referrals.
  • Providing capacity building for senior local staff.

About You

To be successful, the ideal candidate will share our values, be approachable, professional, agile and self-motivated with a high degree of professional ethics, integrity and commercial judgement. You will also have:


  • A minimum of 10 years working at a senior management level within Ministries of Health.
  • A minimum of 5 years’ prior clinical experience.
  • Demonstrated skills and experience in health sector planning and management, review and analysis, including analysing disease trends, health financing and service delivery approaches.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • A Bachelor in Medicine, and a Postgraduate qualification (Master or higher) in Public Health, Health System Management, Epidemiology, or a related field.
  • Excellent adaptability, as well as skills in strategic thinking, and a results-oriented approach.
  • Highly organised and able to deliver to tight time frames and under pressure.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills at a senior level, including the ability to work effectively in a small, flexible team and adapt to changing needs within the broader organisational context.

Cultural/Language Requirements

  • Fluency in English and demonstrated ability to express complex ideas in clear and simple language, both verbally and in writing.
  • Relevant experience in LMICs or SIDS, preferably in the Pacific Islands.
  • Demonstrated skills in communication within Pacific cultural contexts.

Desirable Experience

  • Experience in a health for development setting.
  • Prior clinical experience in resource-limited settings.

About Us

Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader with a proven track record in complex program implementation in the international development sector. We offer bold solutions and technical excellence in Health, Economic Growth, Governance, Research & Evaluation, Environment & Energy, Gender Equality & Social Inclusion. Working with our many partners, we have driven measurable social impact for more than 55 years, to achieve our mission of improving the quality of life and economic well-being of people worldwide. We operate in remote and challenging environments and employ more than 3,700 staff in over 50 countries. For more information about us and what we do, visit our website.

How to Apply

To submit your application, click Apply Now. Please attach your resume/CV and a cover letter (as a single PDF document) addressing how you meet the requirements of this role.

Equity: Abt Associates values individuality and celebrates difference with a strong commitment to diversity, equality, racial equity, gender, and disability inclusion. We strongly encourage people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to apply for this position. We offer flexible work arrangements and a culturally safe environment for staff members from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Safeguarding: We are deeply committed to safeguarding, to protect and prevent harm and abuse to individuals we work for and who work for us. Our recruitment and selection procedures reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation. We will not tolerate discrimination, harassment, child abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation in any form, and expect everyone to be treated with respect and dignity.

Abt Associates acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we live and work. We pay respect to elders both past and present.


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