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Technical Officer, Polio and Measles Laboratory

Multiple locations

  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Multiple locations
  • Grade: Mid level - P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Biology and Chemistry
    • Malaria, Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases
  • Closing Date: Closed


The Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPD) Programme is part of and contributes to the work of the Universal Health Coverage/Communicable and Non-communicable diseases (UHC/UCN) cluster in the WHO African region. The strategic agenda of the cluster is to reduce disease burden in the WHO African Region, by guiding disease control agenda in Africa, and using analytics to inform strategic investments and tailored interventions for disease control. This approach is underpinned by the guiding principles of comprehensive whole of society, people-centered, integrated approaches to disease control. The comprehensive whole of society approaches to disease control involves: (a) coherent implementation of triple response – technical response: implementing diseases specific normative guidance, promoting intervention mixes and deploying medical commodities; health systems response: building capacities of district service delivery systems in disease mapping and stratification, interventions tailoring, and sector/subsector planning; and multi-sectoral response: addressing socio-economic and environmental determinants of diseases
through mobilizing non-health sectors, communities and stakeholders; (b) disease control partnership of public and private sectors, health and non-health sectors; and (c) community involvement in targeted high-risk communities, focused on managing determinants of diseases, health services demand creation and accountability by local health stewards.
The people centered, integrated approaches to disease control involves: (a) integrated guidance on disease control for each health service delivery platform, a move away from stand-alone disease specific guidance; and (b) integrated and efficient disease control investments in strengthening the capacity of appropriate health services delivery platforms through deployment of appropriate technologies and analytics to guide stratification of disease risks across population groups to develop and deploy comprehensive packages of interventions appropriate to each targeted population group and health service delivery platform, as well as monitor population access, coverage and impact to leave no one behind.
The specific objectives of the UCN cluster to which the VPD programme contributes, are to: (i) provide leadership on disease control coordination, partnership and resource mobilization; (ii) contribute to the development of WHO disease control technical products, services and tools including adoption of new technologies and innovations; (iii) support generation and use of strategic information for action and decision making including optimizing investment; and (iv) provide or facilitate provision of technical support in deployment of WHO technical products and services and institutional capacity building, including support to national disease programmes and regulatory authorities.


The incumbent is assigned all or part of the following responsibilities which are performed according to the needs and agenda:

- To provide technical expertise Polio and measles/ rubella laboratory surveillance to countries of the sub-region;
- To define and implement quality-assurance of WHO endorsed diagnostic technologies with emphasis on quality management systems towards accreditation;
- To support the development of laboratories work plans, guidelines, standard operating procedures in cooperation with sub-regional, regional and national stakeholders and support their implementation;
- To build the capacity of national public health or reference laboratories, to perform laboratory surveillance of priority communicable diseases, confirm etiological agents and monitor antimicrobial resistance, through training and supervision of laboratory technicians and improving quality assurance and control.
- To support the monitoring of laboratories supplies, reagents and resources;
- Support the laboratory component of polio and measles/rubella certification processes;
- To coordinate and support the monitoring and evaluation of polio and measles/ rubella laboratories activities in the sub region;
- To set up functional laboratory services to provide high-level expertise in laboratory diagnostics and quality control including conducting research and training to support these activities.
- To contribute to the establishment and strengthening of partnerships to fully support the joint regional activities of the Global Laboratory Initiatives (GLI)
- To promote uptake of WHO/AFRO policy guidance and use of GLI laboratory strengthening, including serving as focal point to coordinate technical assistance and strengthen laboratory capability at the sub-regional, regional and inter-country national levels, in close cooperation with other VPD staff and other clusters as appropriate;
- To coordinate and support critical reviews and assessments, documenting key achievements; promoting information-sharing on best practices in laboratory technologies
- To support the development and maintenance of up-to-date sub-regional and national databases.
- To support close collaboration at regional, sub-regional and country levels laboratories and WHO collaborating centers on databases and information sharing through annual progress reports, meetings, training and feedback.
- To contribute to resource mobilization and advocacy strategies and reporting on polio and measles/rubella laboratories surveillance projects at regional and/or sub regional level.
- To support the Team Leader and EPI Focal Points in the development of work plans and budgetary proposals, as required.
- To perform other related responsibilities as assigned, including replacing and backstopping for others as required.



Essential: Master’s degree in biomedical science, in microbiology, virology or related field.
Desirable: Post-graduate degree in biomedical science, microbiology, virology or related field. Specialization in tropical/communicable disease control.


At least seven (7) years’ experience in the field of laboratory methodologies and procedures, complemented by experience in project management of tropical/communicable diseases reference laboratory projects at country level, including project planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, quality assurance, research and/or health worker training.

Experience in policy formulation, strategic and policy planning implementation and monitoring of laboratory activities, preferably related to immunization and disease surveillance.
Experience in health emergencies management and response.


Within the context of the Global and Regional Vaccine action plans, demonstrated knowledge of and experience in laboratory methodologies, technologies, procedures and biosafety aspects, complemented by ability to plan, coordinate and implement laboratory protocols at sub-regional level; monitoring and reporting on results, progress, lessons learnt and obstacles.
Proven track record in the assessment of laboratories surveillance, including but not limited to the development and implementation of norms and standards and effective reporting mechanisms and systems, and/or M&E.
Excellent communication and presentation skills with ability to write in a clear and concise manner and give technical advice and guidance taking into consideration the views of multiple stakeholders and partners in resource-limited contexts; and to participate in resource mobilization and advocacy activities.
Proven interpersonal skills with ability to promote consensus, communicate progress and results, and resolve issues in a proactive manner, while ensuring effective work practices and ethics. Diplomacy, tact and courtesy.

WHO Competencies

1. Teamwork
2. Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
3. Communication
4. Creating a motivating and empowering environment
5. Moving forward in a changing environment

Use of Language Skills

Essential: Expert knowledge of English or French.
Desirable: Working knowledge of other UN official languages.

Other skills:

Proven ability to use standard office software packages, Conversant with common IT software including eHealth tools.


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 77326 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable) and a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station. Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children. You may consult the salary scale on Salary Scales | ICSC (


• This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level
• Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
• A written test and/or an asynchronous video assessment may be used as a form of screening.
• If your candidature is retained for an 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: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
• According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible.
• Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual.
• Staff members in other duty stations are encouraged to apply.
• The WHO is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. The WHO recruits and employs staff regardless of disability status, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, race, marital status, religious, cultural, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, or any other personal characteristics.
• The WHO is committed to achieving gender parity and geographical diversity in its staff. Women, persons with disabilities, and nationals of unrepresented and underrepresented Member States ( are strongly encouraged to apply.
• Persons with disabilities can request reasonable accommodations to enable participation in the recruitment process. Requests for reasonable accommodation should be sent through an email to
• An impeccable record for integrity and professional ethical standards is essential. 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.
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• WHO also offers wide range of benefits to staff, including parental leave and attractive flexible work arrangements to help promote a healthy work-life balance and to allow all staff members to express and develop their talents fully.
• The statutory retirement age for staff appointments is 65 years. For external applicants, only those who are expected to complete the term of appointment will normally be considered.
• Please note that WHO's contracts are conditional on members of the workforce confirming that they are vaccinated as required by WHO before undertaking a WHO assignment, except where a medical condition does not allow such vaccination, as certified by the WHO Staff Health and Wellbeing Services (SHW). The successful candidate will be asked to provide relevant evidence related to this condition. A copy of the updated vaccination card must be shared with WHO medical service in the medical clearance process. Please note that certain countries require proof of specific vaccinations for entry or exit. For example, official proof /certification of yellow fever vaccination is required to enter many countries. Country-specific vaccine recommendations can be found on the WHO international travel and Staff Health and Wellbeing website. For vaccination-related queries please directly contact SHW directly at
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This vacancy is now closed.
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