Epidemiologist & Disease Modelling Specialist
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME
The mission of WHO’s Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Programme (WHE) is to build the capacity of Member States to manage health emergency risks and, when national capacities are overwhelmed, to lead and coordinate the international health response to contain outbreaks and to provide effective relief and recovery to affected populations. The Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment (HIR) Programme area of the EPR focuses on three major streams of work: i) enhancing public health intelligence for early detection and risk assessment of health events; ii) strengthening public health surveillance and epidemiology based on the IDSR framework; and iii) modernizing information management systems and data analytics.
PURPOSE OF THE POSITION
The Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment (HIR) is a Programme Area of the Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Cluster at WHO AFRO. The overall mandate of the HIR unit is to develop public health intelligence and risk assessment for early detection of public health events, strengthen epidemiological surveillance and improve data and information systems, for member states to rapidly mitigate the impact of public health crises. The HIR unit leads the implementation of the “Transforming African Surveillance Systems” (TASS) flagship program which is structured around five key pillars: Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) implementation, data and information management, workforce development, policy dialogue & advocacy and predictable and sustainable financing. The HIR unit is in the process of reviewing, developing, and adapting several electronic tools to improve detection of public health events, data access, data management, data analytics and data use for emergency preparedness and response.
The primary objective of this position is to develop advanced data analytics and modeling tools using artificial intelligence, machine learning and statistical methods and techniques for outbreak and other public health events trend analysis, forecasting and projections, genomic data analytics and data use, and capacity strengthening of member states in these areas.
DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES
Within the framework of the delegated authority, the incumbent is assigned all or part of the following duties:
1. Propose an optimized approach for surveillance using PCR tools, sequencing/genomic methods efficiently
2. Establish partnership with epidemiologists, first line testing clinics and laboratory staff in order to bridge public health needs with laboratory constraints
3. Develop a technical guidance on sampling strategy for molecular, sequencing and genomic surveillance within the WHO/AFRO.
4. Provide guidance for specific groups to be targeted for comprehensive surveillance.
5. Provide guidance for an optimized lab requisition that captures metadata needed for epidemiological studies within the laboratory information systems (LIS) capacity and maintaining ease of use by first-line healthcare providers.
6. Contribute to building capacity with novel methods within Member States and WHO for surveillance.
7. Set up and update a mapping of sampling strategy being used by Member States in the African region
8. Perform any other task related to pathogen genomic surveillance upon request of the supervisor.
9. Establish early warning systems for epidemic and pandemic-prone diseases for early detection and response to public health events of national and international concern
10. Conduct real-time analysis of IDSR weekly reports, outbreak intelligence data on infectious diseases, for epidemic forecasting and detection
11. Provide technical expertise to develop cross-border plans and programmes for strengthening epidemiological and laboratory surveillance system for prevention and control of disease with epidemic and pandemic potentials in accordance with IHR 2005
12. In-depth analysis and visualization, exploratory analysis, patterns extraction (machine leaning, data mining) and modeling of historical outbreak data, DVA, and IDSR datasets
13. Disease specific in-depth data analysis and hotspot analysis and mapping, space-time analysis (e.g cholera, yellow fewer,…) based on patterns
14. Triangulation of various sources of data including epidemiological surveillance data, IDSR data, genomic surveillance data, outbreak data, and public health intelligence and Risk assessment data
15. Develop automated tools to extract information and learn from the large volumes of outbreak datasets, public health intelligence generated data and risk assessment data collected
16. Assessing the effectiveness of some of the current tools used for detection, verification, and assessment
17. Perform other related duties as assigned, including replacing and back stopping for others as required.
Essential: Master’s degree in one of the following disciplines: Biostatistics, Statistics, Data Science , Informatics, Information Science, Computer Science, epidemiology, infectious disease science or equivalent.
Desirable: Specialized training in Biostatistics, infectious disease epidemiology, modelling and advanced analytics.
At least a minimum of 7 years' experience in disease surveillance, prevention and control, with at least 3 years practical experience in disease modeling and forecasting. Practical working use of advanced statistical software packages (e.g., R, STATA, SAS) for epidemiological analysis during emergencies will be an asset.
- At least seven years of experience in statistical data analysis, data management, data processing and computing
- Strong experience in advanced data analytics, data systems, machine learning, data mining, simulations, and modeling
- Practical experience in the use of statistical packages such as SPSS, STATA, SAS, R
- Strong experience working with large databases, database systems and data management tools.
- Practical experience in software and database systems (MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, Postgres, MS Access or any RDBMS platforms, etc.), programming languages (Java, C Sharp, PHP, Visual Basic, R, etc.).
- Strong knowledge of information management tools and mechanisms
- Ability to design and manage databases in software commonly used in field epidemiology (EpiInfo, EpiData, ODK, Microsoft Access, SPSS, STATA, SAS, R).
- Strong analytical skills; the ability to analyze raw data, draw conclusions, and understand how to best visualize data.
- Experience in Geovisualization and advanced mapping tools
- Knowledge of GIS
Desirable: Working experience on emergencies in Africa. Experience in conducting disease surveillance, prevention and control in humanitarian settings. Experience of working with WHO or other UN agencies would be an asset.
Experience in WHO and/or the UN System in the areas of outbreak preparedness and response; field experience in public health programmes or emergency response programmes in developing countries.
Experience in routine analysis and reporting of time-sensitive public health data. Good understanding of the IDSR strategy and its implementation is an asset.
Field experience in epidemiology, surveillance and/or control of acute public health events experience in resource limited countries; experience of working with event-based surveillance; good understanding in inter-agency collaboration or in WHO, UN, UN Agencies or other international organizations.
In-service training in field epidemiology such as Field Epidemiology (and Laboratory) Training Programmes (FELTP), the European Program for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET), the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service programme, or equivalent experience.
Functional Knowledge and Skills
Sound strategic and tactical thinking with ability to formulate clear comprehensive policies, strategies and plans. Superior organizational skills with ability to multi-task and produce results under pressure. Excellent interpersonal with proven ability to communicate in a clear and effective way, with tact, diplomacy and courtesy. Authoritative and comprehensive knowledge of the theory, principles, methods and techniques in international emergency risk management and humanitarian response, with a broad-based understanding of its growing complexity including knowledge of the workings of relevant international policy-setting bodies.
- Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
- Promoting innovation and organizational learning
- Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond
Use of Language Skills
Essential:Expert knowledge of English
Desirable:Intermediate knowledge of French
The above language requirements are interchangeable.
WHO offers staff in the Professional Category an attractive remuneration package, which for the above position includes an annual net base salary starting at 77.326 USD (Brazzaville, Congo), (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable).
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.
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