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Team Leader, High Threat Pathogens (IHM/PAT)


  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Copenhagen
  • Grade: Senior level - P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Malaria, Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: Closed


The mission of the Division of WHO Health Emergencies (WHE) is to build the capacity of Member States to assess, prevent and manage health emergency risks, and lead and coordinate the international health response to contain outbreaks and to provide effective relief and recovery to affected populations.

The WHE Division brings together and enhances WHO's operational, technical and normative capacities in outbreaks, emergencies and risk analysis to address all health hazards across the risk management cycle in a predictable, capable, dependable, adaptable and accountable manner. The Programme is designed to operate within the broader humanitarian and emergency management architecture in support of people at risk of, or affected by outbreaks and emergencies, consistent with ways that strengthen local and national capabilities.

The Infectious Hazard Management Programme Area is responsible for establishing risk mitigation strategies and capacities for priority high-threat infectious hazards. This includes developing and supporting prevention and control strategies, tools and capacities for high-threat infectious hazards, establishing and maintaining expert networks to detect, understand and manage new or emerging high threat infectious hazards as well as providing secretariat support for the management of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework.

The High Threat Pathogens(PAT) team develops strategies, guidance, global mechanisms and interventions to address influenza and other high threat pathogens responsible for epidemics or pandemics thereby reducing their impact on affected populations and limiting their international spread. This team deals with known high threat pathogens including influenza, SARS-CoV2, Monkey pox and acute respiratory infections as well as the implementation of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework.


The position is responsible for the management and overall coordination of the High Threat Pathogens team. The incumbent provides leadership in influenza and other respiratory pathogens monitoring and vaccination, defines overall strategic directions and provides technical content expertise in the areas essential to address the public health related aspects in the responsible areas. The incumbent ensures that programmed activities are effectively implemented in a timely fashion and co-ordinates work in the finance, budget and HR areas with relevant units and HQ departments and also ensures that the team coordinates, collaborates and implements activities in ways that are fully consistent with WHO standards and practices. The incumbent will be deployed to emergency operations when required.

Key duties:

  1. Lead and coordinate the work on infectious hazards with pandemic potential with a focus on influenza,SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens, including disease and laboratory surveillance.Lead and coordinate the development and implementation of policies, guidance and technical support to countries for the monitoring of influenza and other respiratory pathogens and the optimal use of preventive intervention including vaccination. Work with partners, including academic and research institutions, to improve approaches and methods of monitoring and preventing influenza in different situations.
  2. Ensure the development, coordination and implementation of a strategic programme to address infectious hazards with pandemic potential with a focus on influenza, particularly, seasonal, avian and pandemic influenza, and other respiratory pathogens including SARS-CoV-2. The work is conducted in close collaboration with relevant partners in the field and other groups within the organization in particular for the function of pandemic preparedness within the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework.
  3. Develop technical guidance and preparedness plan in collaboration with other disease programs and the preparedness groups in WHE and foster research for new tools and approaches to prevent and control infectious hazards with pandemic potential, with a focus on influenza and other respiratory pathogens.
  4. Develop technical authoritative advice and foster research for new tools and approaches to prevent and control infectious hazards with pandemic potential with a focus on influenza and other respiratory pathogens. Support the Programme Area Manager and Regional Emergency Director in the development of new concepts, tools and strategies and their implementation in the related areas of specialization.
  5. Contribute in the development of new concepts, tools and strategies and their implementation in High Threat Pathogens. Contribute to the surveillance, risk analysis and risk communication of infectious hazards with pandemic potential, with a focus on influenza and other respiratory pathogens in close collaboration with the risk assessment and health information group and other groups in WHE.
  6. Lead WHO cross-cutting efforts to provide Influenza and other related disease control technical support during emergencies and to use these situations as opportunities to strengthen the long terms health capacities of countries needed to handle communicable diseases in any setting.
  7. Develop work plans and performance indicators, monitor and evaluate the work of the team and its interaction with other teams so that activities reflect the administrative and budgetary standards, guidelines, priorities and directions of WHE/IHM. Allocate, monitor the use of the team's resources so that adequate support is assured and the work of the team is technically excellent, effectively and efficiently conducted, and completed to a high standard.
  8. Develop strategic partnerships with the various counterparts and international partners to implement appropriate interventions, including strategic planning, tactical and project planning, facilitation, instruction, and information and documentation development.
  9. Proactively inform the supervisor of situations which might pose a threat to WHO or its reputation and propose solutions to address the problems.
  10. Empower and motivate staff to use and support multi-disciplinary, cross-cutting approaches to work where beneficial for accomplishing goals.
  11. Represent the team at international meetings and conferences, when required.
  12. Perform other related duties including replacing and backstopping as required.



Essential: Advanced university degree in medicine, microbiology, public health or other area related to the function.
Desirable: Doctorate (or equivalent) in epidemiology, microbiology, or related field.


Essential: At least 10 years' experience working on the prevention of infectious diseases combined with an emphasis on influenza or respiratory pathogens, including at least 3 years working on either infectious disease outbreak control or influenza or dangerous pathogens as related to the function as noted above. At least five out of the 10 years at an international level. Proven experience in managing finances, budgets and staff and clear proof of responsibility for management of work plan activities.
Desirable: Relevant work experience in WHO and/or other UN sister agencies; experience working in other multi and bilateral development agencies active in the health sector.


  • Demonstrated leadership and team management skills in international and multi-cultural settings, including the proven capacity to lead and deliver on deadlines during periods of intense stress and activity; demonstrated ability to provide independent leadership in such periods with capacity to organize, monitor and synthesize information quickly and concisely.
  • Proven ability to successfully coordinate, manage and lead projects, and build partnerships, across agencies and organizational departments in the context of health emergencies.
  • Expert level knowledge of infectious diseases, particularly in those areas such as influenza, critical for promoting a public health perspective and approach, such as infectious disease epidemiology, prevention or control, monitoring and vaccination and significant practical application of this knowledge in an international context.
  • Solid managerial skills, sound knowledge of planning, human resources, budgeting, and financial aspects of management.
  • Proven understanding of the management of acute and urgent public health responses, including infectious disease outbreaks in humanitarian emergencies.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness in building sustained partnerships and working with others in international settings.

WHO Competencies

  • Teamwork
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
  • Communication
  • Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond
  • Ensuring the effective use of resources
  • Creating an empowering and motivating environment

Use of Language Skills

Essential: Expert knowledge of English.
Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of 1 WHO/EURO language.


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 92,731 (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 5517 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.


  • 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 may be used as a form of screening.
  • In the event that 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 ( strongly encouraged to apply for WHO jobs.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
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This vacancy is now closed.
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