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World Health Organization (WHO)

Consultant – In-depth literature searches and systematic reviews

( 2206164 )

Contractual Arrangement : External consultant

Contract Duration (Years, Months, Days) : 3 months

Job Posting: Jul 8, 2022, 1:15:27 PM

Purpose of consultancy

Perform daily in-depth literature searches to retrieve and process scientific evidence in support of the WHO Outbreak and Crises Response, WHO Rapid Review Group, and the WHO COVID-19 Research Database.


WHO is gathering the latest scientific findings and knowledge on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and compiling it in a database (WHO COVID-19 Research Database). The WHO Library updates the database daily from searches of bibliographic databases, hand searches of the table of contents of relevant journals, and the addition of other relevant scientific articles relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Search results are used to provide WHO Health Emergencies and other WHO workforce involved in COVID -19 outbreak with a searchable resource for review and guideline needs. This database is also publicly available with almost 7000 users/day and a growing number of total users and total downloads.


  • Con duct and execute 25 daily searches (in consultation with research unit) on established bibliographic databases and other digital information sources.
  • Download and process results into individual RIS file format and apply individual record enhancement (Date/Abstract/Language/Source inclusion) on relevant citations.
  • Record results for each search in a Search Strategy WORD document.
  • Transfer of results of search as well a search document to WHO.
  • Record and transfer results of searches to WHO and apply search strategy modifications necessary to improve/enhance the sourcing searches with emerging topics related to COVID-19.
  • Search and test new sources of scientific evidence for potential inclusion into the WHO COVID-19 Research Database – including grey literature.
  • Troubleshoot issues with the database, identify areas to streamline processes and to implement automation to support a sustainable version of the database.
  • Keep track of methods used for developing & maintaining the WHO COVID-19 Research Database as well as lessons learnt.
  • Contribute to developing search strategies for reviews/guideline development and lead initial meetings with requesting groups for the process of search building.
  • Contribute to streamlining, automated screening and review processes, providing software support and data management solutions.
  • Collaborate with the WHO Global Library Group to develop search filters relevant to COVID-19 and sharing information on upcoming reviews to avoid duplication of work and provide input into a global consortia of medical librarians/ information specialist working (NICE, eCDE, Cochrane & Campbell Collaborations, CDC) in COVID-19 hedges.
  • Organize and maintain a repository of COVID-19 specific searches shared inter-organization and provide support to external organizations for search building through a process of peer reviewing and sharing (RKI, UKHSA, ECDC, etc.).
  • Provide relevant input into WHO COVID-19 Research Database training materials and facilitate regularly scheduled training modules.
  • Respond to emails and technical queries for users of the database.

Qualifications, experience, skills and languages

Educational Qualifications:

Essential: Advanced university degree in public health.


Essential: 5 to 10 years of experience performing in-depth literature searches.


  • Experience working during emergencies.

  • Experience doing systematic reviews.



  • Search skills required for PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, PyscInfo, Global Index Medicus and Clarivate/Web of Science, LILACS, WHO COVID-19 Research Database.
  • In-depth knowledge of software – Excel, Endnote, Distiller, Rayyan and other possible automation tools for the systematic review process.
  • Basic skills for using Microsoft Teams/Microsoft Word/Microsoft Outlook/Zoom.

Desirable: Additional database search skills.

Languages required:

Essential: Expert knowledge of English

Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of French or Spanish.


Off-site – Home based.


No travel is expected.

Remuneration and budget (travel costs are excluded):

Remuneration: Band level B

USD 7,000

9,980 per month.

Living expenses (A living expense is payable to on-site consultants who are internationally recruited):


Expected duration of contract:

3 months.

Additional Information

  • This vacancy notice may be used to identify candidates for other similar consultancies at the same level.
  • Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
  • A written test may be used as a form of screening.
  • If your candidature is retained for interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: (link) Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
  • For information on WHO’s operations please visit: (link)
  • WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
  • WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
  • Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Member States are particularly encouraged.
  • WHO prides itself on a workforce that adheres to the highest ethical and professional standards and that is committed to put the WHO Values Charter into practice.
  • WHO has zero tolerance towards sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), sexual harassment and other types of abusive conduct (i.e., discrimination, abuse of authority and harassment). All members of the WHO workforce have a role to play in promoting a safe and respectful workplace and should report to WHO any actual or suspected cases of SEA, sexual harassment and other types of abusive conduct. To ensure that individuals with a substantiated history of SEA, sexual harassment or other types of abusive conduct are not hired by the Organization, WHO will conduct a background verification of final candidates.
  • Consultants shall perform the work as independent contractors in a personal capacity, and not as a representative of any entity or authority. The execution of the work under a consultant contract does not create an employer/employee relationship between WHO and the Consultant.
  • WHO shall have no responsibility whatsoever for any taxes, duties, social security contributions or other contributions payable by the Consultant. The Consultant shall be solely responsible for withholding and paying any taxes, duties, social security contributions and any other contributions which are applicable to the Consultant in in each location/jurisdiction in which the work hereunder is performed, and the Consultant shall not be entitled to any reimbursement thereof by WHO.
  • Consultants working in Switzerland must register with the applicable Swiss cantonal tax authorities and social security authorities, within the prescribed timeframes (Guidelines issued by the Swiss Mission are available at: (link)-onu-geneve/en/home/manual-regime-privileges-and-immunities/introduction/Manuel-personnes-sans-privileges-et-immunites-carte-H/Non fonctionnaires et stagiaires.html
Tags: covid, data management, health emergencies, librarian, library, social security contributions