Under the overall guidance of the Team Leader WHE Programme / Incident Manager (IM) for COVID-19 response and WHO Representative-Nepal and in close coordination with Deputy Incident Manager for COVID-19 response, the incumbent will perform the following tasks:
- COVID-19 laboratory capacity & response: Lead the development of Public Health Laboratory Preparedness & Response Readiness core components for efficient response to and recovery from the COVID- 19 pandemic and provide technical guidance to the National Public Health Laboratory and provincial laboratories charged to manage the laboratory component of COVID-19 interventions and the national network of designated COVID-19 labs. Manage the implementation, reporting, performance assessment and evaluation of the approved activities and ensure proper communication with partners as appropriate. Provide technical advice to MOPH on public health laboratory related matters whenever requested. Ensure close coordination between Laboratory Capacity and other pillars of the COVID-19 response IMS across the three levels of the organization.
- Influenza Surveillance and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness & Response: Provide strategic, technical and implementation support for strengthening laboratory-based Influenza surveillance and reporting, quality assurance and virus sharing under the Pandemic Preparedness Plan (PPP). Ensure the sustainability of the Respiratory Syncitial Virus (RSV)and COVID-19 surveillance initiated in the country within the Influenza surveillance platform, strategically building on the enhanced COVID-19 lab network in the country.
- Infectious hazard emergencies and outbreak response: Provide guidance and technical advice for the early detection and laboratory support for surveillance, outbreak confirmation and diagnostic support for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases through review, updating/development, and dissemination of guidelines, standard operational procedures, and implementation and capacity building strategies using lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious hazard emergencies in the country and the region in the past. Provide laboratory technical expertise and operational support for the timely response to outbreaks/epidemics and health emergencies, in collaboration with national health officials, WHO field teams and relevant partner organizations. Mobilize resources for strengthening the laboratory capacity of the country and to conduct infectious disease surveillance, outbreak detection and response, implementation research and training of laboratory human resources through one health approaches. Develop and assist in the implementation of operations research and surveillance projects related to emerging and reemerging infectious diseases.
- Public Health Laboratory Network: Leveraging the rapid expansion of the COVID-19 lab network in the country, facilitate the development of a national public health network strategy and action plan and its implementation to result in a three-tier national public health laboratory network up to district level with effective horizontal linkages to intersectoral laboratories upward linkages to research and academic institutional laboratories and downward linkages to the primary health care institutional laboratories. Facilitate mutually beneficial liaison and collaboration between the national network and acknowledged expert labs in the region and globally – especially WHO collaborating centers and build linkages with well-functioning public health laboratory networks of other low/middle income countries for mutual learning.
- Laboratory Quality Assurance: Facilitate the development and establishment and sustained functioning of a National Quality Assurance System for the national public health laboratory network to enhance the IHR related laboratory core capacity using lessons from past initiatives and the COVID-19 response including though initiating and sustaining a national proficiency panel. Facilitate participation of the national public health laboratory network in international laboratory quality assurance programmes at the regional and global levels. Advocate for quality accreditation of laboratories in the network. Cooperate with partners in improving analytical and diagnostics services, quality and environmental management, equipment maintenance.
- Laboratory information management and data sharing: Provide support to the national public health laboratory network to develop and implement a robust laboratory information system based on learning from previous initiatives, the COVID-19 response and global best practices in low/middle income countries and encourage real time sharing of data for public health evidence synthesis. Oversee updating and maintaining the related reporting to national, regional and global information systems. Document the laboratory information strengthening interventions to aid knowledge management and diffusion.
- Laboratory Training & Capacity building: Assess training / capacity needs, develop training materials and conduct and/or supervise public health laboratory training for staff at national, provincial and district level public health laboratories with comprehensive review of laboratory practice guidance aligned with WHO guidance. Design and implement a hybrid (online and onsite) training programme in collaboration with International laboratories like Public Health England (PHE), US-CDC etc.
- Biosafety and Biosecurity: Initiate assessments and training to ensure laboratory bio-safety and biosecurity in public health laboratories. Provide technical support and guidance for the operationalization of Biosafety level -3 laboratory at NPHL and facilitate sustenance of the facility through collaborative surveillance and research programmes. Facilitate the process of establishing national and regional biorepositories. Provide technical support for developing and implementing operational manual and standard operating procedures for the biorepository.
- Antimicrobial Resistance: Provide strategic, technical and implementation support for surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in a one health context and support the implementation of Tricycle project on ESBL E.coli surveillance to successful completion, including its documentation, dissemination and scaling-up as a routine national one-health AMR surveillance mechanism. Supervise and facilitate various AMR activities in the country and reporting of AMR data to WHO-GLASS platform.
- National Centre for Disease Control: Provide strategic inputs and technical support to the proposed National Centre for Disease Control for developing the laboratory division and incorporating the existing laboratories into it.
- Coordination and team management: Support the Team Lead – WHE Programme / WHO Incident Manager, other Team Leads of the WCO and the WHO Representative to develop and effectively implement the work plan activities related to laboratory capacity building interventions; manage and mentor the laboratory support team; advise on and proactively develop effective and feasible Public Health Laboratory Preparedness and Response Readiness interventions leveraging potential partnerships and resource mobilization opportunities; represent WHE team and WCO in coordination and technical meetings with MoHP and partners.
- Perform any additional duties and discharge any additional responsibilities assigned by the Team Lead – WHE or the WHO Representative as needed.
- Submit an end of assignment report (mandatory)
Required Qualification & Experience
Essential: Advance University degree in the Medical Laboratory Technology field / Medical Microbiology.
Desirable: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Medical Microbiology with specialization in Virology.
Essential: At least seven years’ practical experience, in the development, advocacy, planning, implementation of laboratory based infectious disease surveillance programmes. Designing and managing public health microbiology / virology laboratory. Demonstrated exposure at the international level.
Desirable: Previous experience with WHO or other UN agencies, acquiring funding and managing large infectious disease surveillance projects from international funding agencies, Experience in outbreak investigation of emerging infectious diseases. Laboratory expertise in a wide range of infectious hazards evidenced by research publications. University level teaching and research experience.
Proven knowledge and skills in Public health laboratory preparedness for infectious hazards including emerging and re-emerging diseases of public health emergencies of international concern, laboratory support for public health response readiness and microbiological risk assessment give technical advice and guidance taking into consideration the views of multiple stakeholders and partners in resource-limited contexts; Proven ability to promote consensus, communicate progress and results, and resolve issues in a proactive manner, while ensuring effective work practices and ethics.Strong managerial, monitoring, evaluation, organizational skills including ability to negotiate with national and international authorities and partners.Technical expertise: Overall attitude at work are also required mandatory competencies.
- Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
- Ensuring the effective use of resources
- Producing results
- Creating an empowering and motivating environment
Use of Language Skills
Essential: Expert knowledge of English.
WHO salaries for staff in the Professional category are calculated in US dollars. The remuneration for the above position comprises an annual base salary starting at USD 74,913 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable), a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station, and currently amounts to USD 1792 per month for the duty station indicated above. Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.