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CONSULTANT - Laboratory and Diagnostics Infectious Disease Laboratory capacities in Africa, with a focus on TB and HIV Labs


  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Brazzaville
  • Grade: Consultancy - International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Biology and Chemistry
    • HIV and AIDS
    • Medical Doctor
    • Malaria, Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases
  • Closing Date: 2022-12-08


  1. Background

The overall objective of the Laboratory Programme is to ensure adequate oversight of laboratory, diagnostic and imaging facilities on the continent. In particular, the laboratory programme aims to support programmes, ensuring that adequate diagnostic and laboratory facilities, expertise and infrastructure are available and contribute to reduction of disease and promotion of health outcomes.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on health systems and put a great deal of strain on existing laboratory and diagnostic capabilities. Whilst investment were made to strengthen laboratory capabilities, many health services also suffered in the process. During the pandemic, the world suffered from a breakdown in supply chains for vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics, especially in LMICs. Diagnostic laboratories are critical in infectious disease detection, treatment, monitoring, surveillance, prevention, and elimination. Laboratory diagnosis of a disease and its confirmation can facilitate prompt and more precise treatment, unlike empirical treatment based on clinical signs and symptoms alone. Early disease detection and treatment are imperative measures to stop the chain of transmission, is critical to managing disease.

Covid-19 had a major impact on TB detection and management. This can be seen from the data showing an increase in 2021 of the number of global TB deaths for the first time in over a decade. With 36% of all TB deaths occurring in Africa, investment in the TB response is important alongside better understanding of new dynamics and epidemiological trends and assessment of existing capacities.

The review aims to assess the capacity of laboratory programs in Africa to identify gaps that thwart optimized surveillance for diseases of public health significance e further spread. A compilation and review of these assessments, carried out over the past decade, will identify the lacunas at the continental level, informing the initiation of strategies to address the gaps systematically and uniformly.

Scope of work

  1. Undertake a desk review of select public health infectious diseases laboratories and their networks, especially those servicing tuberculosis (TB) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) national control and prevention programs in the African region of WHO;
  2. Provide a draft strategic planning document on capacity building within the laboratories at the regional level for technical proficiencies; and
  3. Explore the potential of networking with private laboratory services to interface with national/sub-regional laboratory networks.
  1. Deliverables

  1. Systematic review of select public health infectious diseases laboratories and their laboratory network(s) within WHO/AFRO Member States focusing on tuberculosis and HIV inclusive of:
    1. Laboratory network organizational structure(s) in countries
    2. Performance assessment strategies for the laboratory network(s)
    3. Funding model/sources (e.g., MOH, semi-autonomous, autonomous, private)
    4. Current funding and tech transfer partners with relevant details
    5. Gaps and sustainability plans
    6. Scope for linkages to current subregional laboratory networks
    7. Accreditation/Certifications achievements
    8. Operational research-related issues for technical assistance
  2. Detailed MS EXCEL table of current published and unpublished reports and papers, accessible in the public domain, covering infectious diseases public health laboratories (a brief synopsis of each report/publication, relevant to disease burden and country context).
  1. Qualifications, experience, skills and languages

Educational Qualifications

  • Essential: Master’s Degree in areas related to health research or social sciences.
  • Desirable: PhD in areas related to Public Health


  • A minimum of 10 years’ experience in infectious disease research. Extensive experience working in Africa and Internationally, national and international work experience in infectious diseases diagnostics


  • Practical experience working in infectious diseases laboratories.

Skills and competencies

  • Demonstrated knowledge of infectious disease epidemiology in Africa
  • Knowledge of laboratory and diagnostics for infectious diseases on the continent
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the challenges faced by laboratories in Africa
  • Ability to provide strategic guidance with respect to laboratories
  • Ability to write, document and demonstrated ability to publish.


Excellent knowledge of spoken and written English is essential. Working knowledge of French or another UN language is an advantage.

  1. Technical Supervision

The selected consultant will work under the supervision of the Assistant Regional Director and the Diagnostics and Laboratory services Team Lead.

  1. Location

On site for insurance purposes (Home-based with duty travel at WHO AFRO, Brazzaville).

  1. Remuneration
  • Monthly rate at Band C level (P5).
  • Expected duration: 2 to 3 months.

Additional Information :

  • 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.
  • For information on WHO's operations please visit:
  • WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
  • WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
  • Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Member States are particularly encouraged.
  • 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.
  • Consultants shall perform the work as independent contractors in a personal capacity, and not as a representative of any entity or authority. The execution of the work under a consultant contract does not create an employer/employee relationship between WHO and the Consultant.
  • WHO shall have no responsibility whatsoever for any taxes, duties, social security contributions or other contributions payable by the Consultant. The Consultant shall be solely responsible for withholding and paying any taxes, duties, social security contributions and any other contributions which are applicable to the Consultant in in each location/jurisdiction in which the work hereunder is performed, and the Consultant shall not be entitled to any reimbursement thereof by WHO.
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