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Vaccine Research Officer

Multiple locations

  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Multiple locations
  • Grade: Mid level - P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Malaria, Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases
  • Closing Date: 2024-07-02

OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME

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 involve: (a) coherent implementation of triple response – technical response: implementing disease-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 involve: (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.


DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES

The incumbent is assigned the following responsibilities:

• To provide authoritative advice on R&D innovations for priority vaccines and "support Member States regarding vaccine preventable diseases, providing technical and scientific guidance on vaccine safety and regulation, including building the capacity of National Regulatory Authorities for registration of vaccines.
• To strengthen the regulatory oversight of clinical trials conducted in the Region, including the facilitation of joint reviews for clinical trial applications.To coordinate and implement activities related to vaccine quality, safety, and standards in collaboration with WHO HQ RSS, Safety, PQ, the Blueprint Team, and other WHO entities and partners.
• To develop work plans for vaccine regulation for the Region, including formulation of milestones to evaluate the performance of vaccine regulation activities.
• To provide technical guidance for consolidation and implementation of the AVAREF platform, including developing, implementing, coordinating, and providing timely reports.
• To undertake resource mobilization for activities related to vaccine regulation, norms, and standards.
• To liaise with AFRO and/or AFRO legal bodies to ensure consistency in the interpretation of legal instruments within the framework of WHO Constitution and AFRO Rules and Regulations, with emphasis on bringing to light and supporting the implementation of regulatory activities in the African Region.
• To collaborate and coordinate activities with other clusters and departments at AFRO to ensure joint planning of vaccine and medicines’ regulation activities.
• To support the implementation of WHO plans and recommendations pertaining to the Global and Regional Advisory groups (GACVS, RITAG, and AACVS).
• Monitoring and reporting on the implementation of recommendations of WHO governing bodies;
• Facilitating coordination with AACVS, RITAG, NITAGs, and partners;
• Facilitating alignment of the support to NRAs of the AFR Region with appropriate regional policy frameworks and the resolutions of the Regional Committee and World Health Assembly; proactively advising and guiding regional and national partners on vaccine safety at the regional and country levels;
• Coordinating and implementing resource mobilization and advocacy strategies;
• Updating existing guidelines, policies and standard procedures for implementation of regulatory functions and frameworks at the regional, sub-regional and national levels.
• Supporting the development and implementation of harmonized regulatory pathways, and strategic plans and guidelines for emergency response.

Periodic assessment of NRAs through:
• WHO benchmarking and Partners Results Framework;
• Coordinating the collection of Clinical Trial Review timelines within member States for performance evaluation;
• Facilitating monitoring and evaluation of pipelines of vaccines in clinical development

Development and implementation of WHO technical products through:
• Publication of periodic reports, including feedback bulletins in close collaboration with team members (at the regional, sub-regional and country levels); submission of
• information-sharing for annual global progress reports; and maintenance of AVAREF Website and up-to-date regional and national databases on clinical trials and safety;
• Facilitating innovations in electronic clinical trial submission and review processes as well as the tracking of safety data.
• Coordinating country support to members states, including technical support as required and in pursuit of enhanced programme planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation; and institutional and human resource capacity building.

Research, evidence, and data for decision making on vaccine development, regulation and safety through:
• Facilitating development and implementation of vaccine research and innovation agenda with focus on understanding regulatory bottlenecks and deploying appropriate resolution strategies.
• Building capacity of NRAs and Ethics Committees.

To perform other related responsibilities as assigned.


REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS

Education

Essential: Master’s degree in Vaccinology, Immunology, Medical Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Public Health or related field from a recognized University.
Desirable: PhD in Immunology, Vaccinology, or Medical Microbiology.


Experience

Essential: A minimum of seven (7) years’ experience at the national and international levels in clinical research, including biological standardization, regulatory evaluation, and capacity building.


Desirable:
- Experience in regulatory policy formulation and working with regulatory authorities, preferably in a resource-limited environment.
- Experience in resource mobilization and coordination of partner support at the international level
- A track record of research, with publications at senior authorship level in peer reviewed journals
- Experience in overseeing implementation, reviewing, and updating existing policies, strategies and guidelines and recommending new initiatives and innovative approaches
- Experience in the development of capacity building tools and databases for monitoring and evaluation purposes, regulatory pathways, vaccine approvals, and safety monitoring through the life cycle approach.
- Experience in clinical research and innovation
- Experience in facilitating coordinated approaches to effective programme management, implementation; monitoring and evaluation, and strategic plan development


Skills

Within the context of the priorities of the Communicable and Non-communicable Disease Control cluster, the VPD program, the IA2030, AFR Regional Immunization Strategic Plans, and the Regional Research Priorities, the incumbent is expected to have demonstrated track record in global public health, research, and development of vaccines against priority diseases, complemented by in-depth knowledge of regulatory systems strengthening, including norms and standards for vaccines, and related capacity building for product development, including their regulatory approvals and implementation, in particular for emergencies caused by epidemics and pandemics. The position requires proven strategic planning as related to vaccines, immunization, and disease prevention and control, with strong monitoring and reporting skills on results, progress, and application of lessons learnt; preferably with some experience of coordinating and implementing such activities at the country and/or regional level.
The incumbent has excellent communication and presentation skills with the ability to write in a clear and concise manner, with a strong track record of research and publications in peer-reviewed journals; and to provide technical advice and guidance to stakeholders and partners taking into account the research infrastructure and capacity of the countries of the African Region.

WHO Competencies

  • Teamwork
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
  • Communication
  • Creating a motivating and empowering environment
  • 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.


REMUNERATION

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 (un.org)


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • 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: http://www.whed.net/. 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 (https://www.who.int/careers/diversity-equity-and-inclusion) 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 reasonableaccommodation@who.int
  • 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.
  • Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with WHO and an underlying premise of the international civil service. Candidates appointed to an international post with WHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.
  • 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 shws@who.int.
  • WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
  • For information on WHO's operations please visit: http://www.who.int.
  • For WHO General Service staff who do not meet the minimum educational qualifications, please see e-Manual III.4.1, para 220.
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