The mission of WHO’s Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Programme is to build the capacity of Member States to manage health emergency risks and, when national capacities are overwhelmed, to lead and coordinate the international health response to contain outbreaks and to provide effective relief and recovery to affected populations. Within EPR, and in the context of Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) and the International Health Regulations (IHR), the genomic surveillance programme is supporting countries to build and maintain regional genomic surveillance capacity to include: identifying the cause of outbreaks and epidemics; better understanding of transmission patterns; validating diagnostics; and tracking disease variants.
PURPOSE OF THE POSITION
The Laboratory Diagnostics Technical Officer supports laboratory activities for pathogens of epidemic potential in Member States of the WHO African region.
DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES
Within the framework of the delegated authority, the incumbent supports planning and implementation of laboratory activities at country and regional levels. As a laboratory scientist, she/he is recruited to timely deliver the following activities in collaboration with the team in the assigned Hub:
- Provide regular technical support to countries on addressing all issues to laboratory testing capacities;
- Guide on decentralization processes using recognized testing strategy;
- Ensure corrective actions based on the findings from External Assessment Programme;
- Promote implementation of biosafety and biosecurity, including the timely shipment of infectious substances;
- Develop the minutes of all the laboratory discussions during the laboratory meetings and teleconferences with country offices, partners/donors on laboratory main achievements, issues/challenges;
- Monitor the progress made on laboratory testing in countries;
- Support laboratory activities: assessment of the implementation of laboratory activities through interaction with country focal points and country incident manager;
- Develop periodic PowerPoint presentations on progress made in the laboratory for pathogen response to share with the IMST, HQ, and other partners;
- Participate in other sub-pillar meetings to contribute to laboratory activities for pathogen response;
- Liaise with Africa CDC on lab issues in the sub-region and develop joint work plans between AFRO and Africa CDC · Liaise with the logistics pillar on the country laboratory needs;
- Participate in IMS meetings for collecting laboratory information and best practices as well as the needs and challenges identified for various diseases in the region;
- Update monthly summary progress report of laboratory activities in the WHO African region;
- Ensure Weekly contribution of the AFRO RD briefs;
- Support on mapping of laboratories involved in molecular testing and sequencing for pathogens by country;
- Contribute to the preparation of webinar training on relevant subjects in the region;
- Contribute to the analysis of the Laboratory Data Dashboard and monitoring of the laboratory performance indicator system.
Essential: Master’s degree in laboratory biological sciences, virology, microbiology or other related science-based discipline from an accredited institution.
Desirable: Postgraduate qualifications in public health, or epidemiology is an added advantage
Essential: At least seven years’ experience in laboratory management or planning, Experience in supervising and training in laboratory testing for emerging respiratory disease.
Desirable: Experience in WHO and/or the UN System in the areas of outbreak preparedness and response; field experience in public health programmes or emergency response programmes in developing countries.
- An understanding of the role of the public health laboratory sector in the overall health system (essential);
- An awareness of emergency planning in relation to the health sector (essential);
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills (essential)
- Sound strategic and tactical thinking with ability to formulate clear comprehensive policies, strategies and plans;
- Superior organizational skills with ability to multi-task and produce results under pressure;
- Excellent interpersonal with proven ability to communicate in a clear and effective way, with tact, diplomacy and courtesy;