STOP: Requirements and Considerations

Technical Qualifications

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is seeking highly qualified public health professionals to join the STOP Program for up to two 11-month assignments, for a consecutive two years. Please click on the links below to find out more about the specific qualifications for each STOP position.

STOP participant in Liberia checking a child’s health card and vaccination status

STOP participant in Liberia checking vaccination status

Fluency in English or French is required. Fluency in a second language, such as Arabic, Portuguese or Spanish, is desired. Prior experience working or studying internationally is highly desired, but not required to apply.

Cross-Cultural Qualifications

It is essential that STOP participants be able to work well with other people from different cultural and religious backgrounds. STOP participants must also possess strong communications skills and work ethic, in addition to being organized, patient, flexible, and resilient.

Training and Orientation

Prior to deployment to the field, STOP participants receive 2-3 weeks of training conducted by CDC, in conjunction with World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) staff. The purpose of this training is to provide participants with an overview of their assignment and their roles and responsibilities in the field. Topics covered include technical aspects of vaccine preventable disease (VPD) control and surveillance, routine immunization strengthening and supplemental immunization activities, and outbreak response, as well as specific communications, data management and program administration information. In addition, upon arrival to their country of assignment, STOP participants will receive an in-country orientation from the WHO and/or UNICEF Country Office to orient them on the administrative and security procedures in their country of assignment.

Living and Working Conditions

STOP assignments are intended for public health professions with extensive experience working at the district and regional levels of the health system and who are able to work with very little support and supervision.

STOP participants are deployed to countries most in need of assistance with immunization and surveillance programs, which can include countries with poor infrastructure, difficult living conditions and sometimes sensitive political and cultural situations. While the safety of our STOP participants is of the utmost importance, often STOP participants live in difficult conditions alongside their in-county colleagues and the communities they serve. Some challenges may include lack of adequate electricity and water, rugged traveling conditions, limited medical facilities, and limited communication.

As STOP participants are frequently sent to challenging environments with very demanding living and working conditions, family members are not permitted to accompany STOP participants to their country of assignment. In addition, family members are not permitted to accompany STOP participants to training. Applicants should also be aware that communications in the field can be very limited, as many areas may have little or no telephone or Internet access. Applicants should seriously consider their personal/familial situation or any other extenuating circumstances before applying.

STOP participants must be in excellent physical condition. STOP encourages participants who will need close medical supervision and access to medical facilities to postpone applying for a STOP assignment until they are in better health.


The STOP program is a volunteer arrangement; as such, STOP participants are not paid a salary. The STOP program works with WHO to cover the cost of airline tickets, and STOP participants are also provided with a daily living allowance to cover lodging, food, and other miscellaneous expenses. STOP participants are assigned to foreign countries and are issued WHO non-staff consultancy contracts.

As a volunteer program, STOP is mutually beneficial to STOP participants, the countries they in which they work, and the communities they serve. During the course of their work, STOP participants integrate closely with local communities and work alongside both staff and non-staff from Ministries of Health, WHO, UNICEF, CDC and NGOs on a daily basis. The work that STOP participants perform not only has a powerful impact on the health systems of their assignment countries but presents a valuable opportunity for STOP participants themselves to learn new things, grow as individuals and build their professional profiles.

Country of Assignment and Contracts

STOP participants do not choose their countries of assignment, and placement in a preferred country is not guaranteed. Although participants are recruited by the CDC, STOP participants are under the supervision of either WHO or UNICEF once deployed to the field. Therefore, STOP participants are deployed under short-term WHO contracts.

No STOP participant is guaranteed a position in the field, and the STOP Program reserves the right to withdraw your acceptance to the team or terminate your contract at any time (during training or while on assignment).

To be eligible for deployment to the field after acceptance to a STOP Team, participants must first obtain a visa for the country where training will be held, successfully participate in STOP Training, and receive medical clearance and country clearance for their countries of assignment. A supervisor evaluation is necessary at the end of each assignment and will help determine whether you are eligible for future deployments.

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Page last reviewed: April 24, 2020
Content source: Global Immunization