Consultant Waste Water/Environmental Surveillance (WES)

Site WHO

Background

Wastewater/environmental surveillance (WES) is recommended to track population-level epidemiological features of pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential. These include the assessment of the disease burden in the community and the capability to monitor a large number of individuals through single-sample testing. Therefore WES will assist in identifying priority pathogens such as Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, Rift Valley viruses etc among the viral hemorrhagic fevers along with COVID-19, bacteria etc. These priority pathogens carry a variety of risks that have a significant impact on public health leading to outbreaks, pandemic as seen during COVID-19.

Therefore, it is crucial to monitor these pathogens in environmental settings to identify their presence and potential routes of transmission early to guide public health interventions. Hence, the main aim is to build or strengthen capacity and use innovative tools (by leveraging gains from the polio eradication programme) to detect and characterize priority pathogens through wastewater and environmental surveillance.

Deliverables

The WHO Regional Office for Africa is engaging international consultant to work on the following Terms of Reference (ToR):

Assist the AFRO region to strengthen WES implementation in alignment with Global WES expansion plan and guidelines.

  • Develop a concept note on implementation of wastewater/environmental surveillance (WES) in Africa
  • Identifying and pursuing new opportunities for funding, partnerships, and innovation to advance the goals and objectives of WES in Africa.

Provide technical guidance

  • Monitoring and evaluating the performance and impact of WES project
  • Providing thought leadership and technical expertise on WES, diagnostics, genomics and data analysis
  • Fostering a culture of excellence, learning, and collaboration within different Laboratory Networks
  • Publish articles and reports on scaling up WES
  • Develop and implement research projects in the areas of WES, genomics, bioinformatics, and computational biology across the continent. Environmental monitoring of media such as water, soil, and surfaces – routinely, during outbreaks, or as part of research studies – to identify environmental hazards (e.g., pathogens) and inform remediation efforts
  • WES or fecally impacted surface waters to track the emergence and spread of diseases and targets of public health concern (e.g., antimicrobial resistance) in communities

Technically support the AFRO region to develop or review countries’ National WES Plan and ensure all requirements are met with regards to WES implementation

  • Identification of roles and responsibilities of stakeholders
  • Laboratory capacity, human resources, procurement and managerial processes etc
  • WES Site selection, frequency and timing of sample collection, opening and closure of sites.

Provide field technical guidance based on Global guidelines to countries regarding:

  • opening and closing of WES sites
  • monitoring the performance of the WES system
  • proposing corrective action when/where necessary

Support countries to build capacity on WES

  • In the field
  • In the lab
  • For data management

Develop a work plan to strengthen WES in the Region

  • create standard operating procedures (SOPs) for field visits
  • assign members to specific countries for support

Innovation Technology (working with WES data manager and Data Sphere team)

  • Do a site assessment with the local team based on a standard protocol
  • Conduct a training on the use of the data collection tools (site data form, blue lines, specimen collection)
  • Develop a WES database and dashboard for ease of monitoring the implementation

Educational Qualifications

Essential

MSc/PhD in Virology or Microbiology.

Experience

Essential

Seven 7 years of national and international experience of wastewater/environmental surveillance management, laboratory strengthening, as well as experience in the design, planning, monitoring and evaluation of research projects related to laboratories

Desirable

Experience in technical support to countries and working with WHO would be an asset Experience in disaster/emergency management or planning (desirable).

Skills/Knowledge

Essential

  • Environmental Surveillance/Wastewater, Monitoring & Evaluation, writing skills, Scientific Publications, Research skills, advance molecular skills etc
  • An understanding of the role of the public health laboratory sector in the overall health system (essential)
  • An awareness of emergency planning in relation to the health sector (essential)
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills (essential)

Languages required

Expert knowledge of French is required, and Intermediate knowledge of English is an asset.

Location

On-site – Dakar, Senegal

Travel

The consultant is expected to travel.

The Consultant is expected to travel, including for deployments, technical support missions and training activities, according to relevant itineraries and schedules, based on country demand, as requested by Team Lead in the HIR/ Lab Diagnostics and Genomic Surveillance Unit.

All travel arrangements will be made by WHO – WHO will not be responsible for tickets purchased by the Consultant without the express, prior authorization of WHO. Visas requirements: it is the Consultant’s responsibility to fulfil visa requirements and ask for visa support letter(s) if needed. While on mission under the terms of this consultancy, the Consultant will receive subsistence allowance in line with the instructions applicable locally, or up to the maximum of the UN DSA.

Remuneration and budget (travel costs are excluded):

Remuneration

  • Band level B – USD – USD 8500-9980 per month
  • Living expenses (A living expense is payable to on-site consultants who are internationally recruited)
  • A living expense is payable to on-site consultants

Expected duration of contract: 3 months initially

Closing date: 19 July 2024.

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