Area of expertise
International Consultant – Public Health Intelligence
Purpose of consultancy
This Consultant will undertake the Public Health Intelligence (PHI) activities, including detection, verification, risk assessment and communication of acute public health events, as part of the Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment (HIM) unit of WHO Health Emergencies Programme (WHE) at WHO SEARO.
The World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Region continues to face various types of health emergencies, including infectious disease epidemics and pandemics, natural disasters, humanitarian crisis, and food safety events. It is crucial to strengthen both national and regional health security systems which encompasses the development of robust regional and country-level systems for surveillance, risk assessment, and field epidemiology. These systems play a vital role in early detection of public health events and facilitate prompt decision-making for effective public health responses.
The Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment (HIM) programme area of WHE is responsible for providing timely and authoritative situation analysis, risk assessment and response monitoring for all major health threats, events and emergencies. This involves detecting, verifying, and assessing potential health emergencies, establishing data collection mechanisms, monitoring health emergency operations, providing data management and analytics support, and strengthening a platform to disseminate timely health emergency information products.
Informed by lessons learnt from recent severe emergencies in the Region, including the COVID-19 pandemic, SEARO worked with Member States to develop Strategic Framework for Action for Strengthening Surveillance, Risk Assessment and Field Epidemiology for Health Security Threats in the WHO South-East Asia Region (https://iris.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665/374371/9789290210030-eng.pdf?sequence=1). One of the key priorities highlighted in the Framework is to further strengthen Regional Public Health Intelligence (PHI) function to ensure timely regional alert for health security threats.
To enable uninterrupted regional PHI functions, it is critical to maintain workforce of qualified individuals. The proposed consultant will contribute as part of the team to carry out regional event-based surveillance, verification, risk assessment and development of information products.
- As guided by PAM-HIM, the consultant will undertake following tasks in coordination with other team members:
- Conduct regional event-based surveillance (EBS) using various information sources and systems (such as Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources) and verify signals related to acute public health events in the Region.
- Contribute in rapid risk assessments (RRA) of acute public health events and development of information products, such as drafting articles for WHO’s Event Information Site (EIS) and Disease Outbreak News (DON).
- Provide technical inputs for other information products, including daily PHI reports, external bi-weekly epidemiological bulletin, and internal weekly situation reports.
- Manage information signals and events in the Event Management System (EMS) and other regional PHI database, focusing on hazards such as vector-borne pathogens, viral hemorrhagic fever, acute febrile illness, and foodborne pathogens.
- Strengthen EIOS application at SEARO and expand EIOS to Member States and WHO Country Offices in the Region.
- Respond to requests from PAM-HIM when appropriate.
- Submit activity reports on monthly basis and a final report at the end of the assignment.
- The consultant is expected to deliver following outputs:
- Contribution to regional EBS, daily PHI reports, and signal and event information management, expected on daily basis.
- Contribution to weekly or bi-weekly information products, expected on routine basis
- Contribution to conduct RRA, and to draft EIS and DON articles, expected when required.
- Monthly activity reports, expected in the first week of the subsequent month, and the final report at the end of assignment
Qualifications, experience, skills and languages
Essential: University degree in public health, epidemiology, medicine, veterinary medicine, or related health discipline
Desirable: Advanced University degree (Masters level or above) in above health disciplines.
At least five years of professional experience in public health surveillance, infectious disease preveion and control or public health information management and analytics.
Experiences involved in responses for disease outbreaks or health emergencies.
- Experiences working in WHO, other UN agencies or relevant non-governmental or humanitarian organizations for relevant public health programmes
- Experiences conducting rapid risk assessment of acute public health events.
- Experiences of developing and publishing information products for public health matters in English
- Experiences working in resource-limited countries for public health programme
- Demonstrated interpersonal and communication skills, with appropriate diplomacy in communicating with relevant government and WHO stakeholders
- Demonstrated capacities to work as part of a team of people with various backgrounds and culture
- Proven ability to write technical documents and information products on public health matters in a clear and concise manner.
- Ability to quickly summarize information from various sources, and communicate the key points in timely manner.
- Demonstrated technical knowledge and skills in surveillance, investigation, risk assessment and control of infectious diseases with epidemic and pandemic control
- Good understanding of the international health regulations (IHR)(2005) and all-harzard approach
- Knowledge and skill in epidemiological analysis
- Sound knowledge and skills in database management
Languages and level required (Basic/Intermediate/Expert):
Essential: Expert knowledge of English
On site: WHO SEARO, New Delhi, India
The consultant may or may not be asked to travel, based on emerging needs and through discussion with the consultant
Remuneration and budget (travel costs are excluded):
- Remuneration: Band level B – in the range from USD 7,000 to USD 8,200 depending on the experiences
- Living expenses: Per diem to be paid as per the policy of WHO SEARO
- Expected duration of contract (Maximum contract duration is 11 months per calendar year): Four and half months
- 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.
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