World Health Organization (WHO)
Meningitis Diagnostics for HEI/EHI.
( 2209663 )
Contractual Arrangement : External consultant
Contract Duration (Years, Months, Days) : 4 months at 80% part-time
Job Posting: Oct 26, 2022, 7:32:15 AM
Purpose of consultancy
To coordinate the activities that will enable the availability and roll-out of fit-for purpose meningitis diagnostic tests, with a particular focus on rapid diagnostic tests for meningococcal outbreak detection and vaccination decision-making in the African meningitis belt.
The objective of the High Impact Epidemics (EHI) Unit is to detect, identify and respond to threats to national, regional and global health security arising from specific epidemic prone diseases that require mass and/or rapid interventions, i.e., epidemic meningitis, yellow fever, VHF and cholera.
Meningitis is a threat in all countries of the world, although the burden of meningitis is greatest in the meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa, where large meningococcal meningitis outbreaks occur. The first global roadmap on meningitis was endorsed by 73rd WHA in 2020 and sets out a plan to tackle the main causes of acute bacterial meningitis. The meningitis team in EHI is responsible for coordinating activities in epidemic control, diagnosis and treatment and surveillance components of the roadmap.
The development of affordable, reliable and quality-assured rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) is a key activity. Such an RDT for use in peripheral level for rapid outbreak detection in the African meningitis belt, is urgently needed. Gavi has approved an investment to facilitate the identification, assessment, procurement and to facilitate rollout of such a test.
The work to be performed is both technical and programmatic to:
- Enable the validation of technical specifications of a rapid diagnostic test for meningococcal outbreak detection, identify and assess RDTs fitting these needs.
- Support WHO and partners to conduct a survey on CSF sample collection and opportunities for improvement in the African Region and to revise the bacterial meningitis testing algorithm, integrating the use of the newly developed test.
- Support WHO and partners to develop an implementation strategy, guidance and training materials to ensure effective use of the new tests in the African Meningitis belt.
Output 1: Validation of technical specifications of a rapid diagnostic test for meningococcal outbreak detection, identify and assess RDTs fitting these needs.
- Establish and manage a meningococcal diagnostic expert group, , organize meetings and summarize their outputs.
- Collect information and follow up to facilitate assessment of RDTs by WHO PQ team.
- Draft the performance evaluation protocol for review of the expert group.
- Monitor timeliness of activities against the workplan, promptly identify solutions to keep on track and document progress in monthly reports.
Output 2: Conduct a regional survey on CSF sample collection, summarize conclusions and recommendations for improvement; revise the African Region’s bacterial meningitis testing algorithm.
- Finalize the CSF collection survey protocol to implement a pilot survey in an African country, and to plan a multi-country survey, based on lessons from the pilot.
- Summarize findings of above in a report.
- Prepare documentation to revise the African Region’s bacterial meningitis testing strategy, integrating the use of the new RDT.
- Organize a consultation to finalize the updated strategy and summarize the results in a report.
Output 3: Develop an implementation strategy and tools to ensure effective use of the new RDTs in the African Meningitis belt, aligned with the updated bacterial meningitis testing algorithm.
- Develop an implementation strategy for the effective rollout of the new RDTs, in accordance with the testing algorithm and the agreed public health decision-making needs.
- Develop practical guidance, training materials, aide-memoires and/or other tools to help countries in the effective implementation of the above strategy.
Qualifications, experience, skills and languages
- Advanced degree in clinical laboratory sciences.
- Advanced degree in epidemiology, public health, international health or related disciplines.
- In-service training in field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programmes (FELTP), the European Program for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET), European Program for Public Health Microbiology (EUPHEM), the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service programme.
- At least 7 years of relevant experience in medical laboratory diagnostics for communicable diseases.
- Field experience in laboratory services in resource limited countries.
- Documented experience in working with multiple partners.
- Experience in meningitis surveillance or response.
- Extensive knowledge of field needs for laboratory capacity and diagnosis in low-resource settings.
- Demonstrated ability to promote pragmatic, field-oriented, operational approaches.
- Strong analytical skills
- Ability to clearly organize and synthesize findings for different target audiences.
- Proven ability to interact well in multi-disciplinary and cross-cutting environments, involving technical, cultural and political elements and to promote consensus.
- Expert knowledge of English.
- Intermediate knowledge of French.
Home based – Off-site.
The consultant is not expected to travel.
Remuneration and budget (travel costs are excluded):
Band level B
9,980 per month.
Living expenses (A living expense is payable to on-site consultants who are internationally recruited):
Expected duration of contract:
4 months at 80% part time. Remuneration will be pro-rated accordingly.
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