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Chief Surgeon

Requisition ID:  14124
Region:  Europe (HQ)
Contract type:  Open-ended contract
What we do


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works worldwide to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict and armed violence. We take action in response to emergencies and at the same time promote respect for international humanitarian law. We are an independent and neutral organization, and our mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. We work closely with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and with their International Federation in order to ensure a concerted, rational and rapid humanitarian response to the needs of the victims of armed conflict or any other situation of internal violence. We direct and coordinate the international activities conducted in these situations.



The OP_HEALTH unit is the point of reference for all of ICRC’s operational health activities. ICRC’s health operations are guided by the ICRC Assistance Policy (Doctrine 49) and by the ICRC Health Strategy (2020-2023 in draft).

The ICRC Health strategy aims at addressing the consequences of the major contemporary trends and challenges affecting the health of people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence. In line with its Public Health approach and as an integral part of its overall multidisciplinary response, it reaffirms the institutional commitment to deliver quality health interventions, defined and implemented in accordance to internationally accepted professional standards. The strategy also confirms the ICRC’s ambition to inform and advance best practices in the fields of comprehensive management of weapon wounded; provision of healthcare for people deprived of freedom; rehabilitation for people with physical disabilities; and, mental health and psychosocial support for individuals and communities affected by armed conflict and violence. These areas of health care are integrated with, and working alongside, other fields of technical expertise under a continuum of care. 

For the ICRC, the effective management of the sick and weapon wounded is carried out under a comprehensive hospital care approach that encompasses hospital management; surgical care (which includes anaesthesia and physiotherapy); internal medicine (including the management of non-communicable diseases); paediatrics, gynaecology-obstetrics; emergency medicine; and, nursing care.

The ICRC supports hospitals around the world, mostly located in protracted conflict contexts and negatively impacted by weakened health systems. The management of surgical needs occurs in these facilities either through support to local hospital/surgical teams and/or through the deployment of mobile or fixed surgical teams.


Given the global shortage of healthcare workers, and existing and projected gaps in surgical care, the ICRC also plays a key role in convening and mobilizing other actors to promote better and wider service delivery.  Give the institution’s mandate, the ICRC also invest significant resources in informing global health policy on delivering healthcare, including surgical care, in active armed conflict zones.

Purpose of the position


The ICRC Chief Surgeon has overall technical responsibility for ICRC's surgical programs. S/he is the ICRC's internal and external reference person for surgical care in armed conflict, s/he provides strategic and technical support to the ICRC’s surgical-related programs. S/he is responsible for updating the existing guidelines in war surgery and in collaboration with the Hospital Care Program Coordinator and OP_HEALTH management, s/he will help to develop strategy, policy and for advancing the ICRC's global expertise in the management of Weapon Wounded and in the field of Emergency Life-saving Surgery in low resource settings. All of the above in alignment with the ICRC's Health Strategy.

Main duties and responsibilities


  • Maintains, sets up and monitors the use of surgical care standards and best practices in field projects;
  • As the ICRC's reference person in the field of surgery, maintains and strengthens national and international surgical networks (technical, military, academic, humanitarian, etc);
  • Develops strategy and policy, as well as standards, guidelines and protocols in the field of war surgery and life-saving emergency surgery;
  • Contributes to hospital- management guidelines and procedures, and as well as to the standardization of hospital equipment and supplies;
  • S/he is responsible for the overall planning of surgical projects in close coordination with ICRC’s Senior Surgeon at HQ;
  • Provides technical support to the ICRC's surgical teams;
  • Works towards maintaining, and expanding, the ICRC's leading role in setting/maintaining standards in trauma surgery and acute care;
  • In coordination with the surgical, hospital teams and learning and development teams, defines and monitors professional development pathways related to war surgery;
  • Contributes to strategic workforce planning of ICRC's surgical pool, –in coordination with relevant Talent Manager(s), Senior Surgery Specialist and Hospital Care Program Coordinator;
  • Manages and coordinates the headquarters’ Senior Surgeon in consultation with the Hospital Care Program Coordinator;
  • Coaches and mentors regional surgical positions (3-5 staff) in collaboration with the Senior Surgery Specialist;
  • Contributes to global and regional strategic surgical developments and to the Hospital Care Program’s planning, budgeting and reporting exercises;
  • Contribute to HR recruitment and assignment planning.


Education and experience required


  • University degree in Medicine, with completed specialty training in General Surgery, Traumatology or Orthopedic Surgery with a valid professional registration, mandatory;
  • Must have a valid surgical teaching/instructor license in ATLS or equivalent;
  • Minimum 12 years' surgical experience, in a recognized and audited, non-humanitarian hospital setting;
  • Minimum 5 years' cumulative humanitarian field experience in hospital surgical care, including 3 years cumulative experience with the ICRC;
  • Fluent command of English and French both oral and written. Other languages of interest to the ICRC a strong asset;
  • Ability to travel extensively to the field. Nationality restrictions may apply.
Desired skills and profile


  • Trauma surgeon with war surgery experience and a valid professional registration, mandatory;
  • Diplomacy and cultural awareness and sensibility;
  • Ability to present and represent ICRC;
  • Proven ability to lead multi-cultural teams and effectively transfer professional knowledge;
  • Ability to lead a team as well as being an active team member;
  • Proven team management and team building/development experience;
  • Good reporting capabilities verbal and written;
  • Excellent representational and networking skills, with a established professional network;
  • Proven strategic thinking and analytical capabilities;
  • Proven ability to work with multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural teams and populations.
Additional information


  • Location:                        Geneva
  • Type of contract:            Required-Rotation 
  • Length of assignment:    4 years
  • Activity rate:                   100%
  • Estimated start date:     October 2020
  • Application Deadline: Friday, the 31st of January 2020