VN030 National consultant to provide technical assistance and facilitate laboratory issues in context of COVID-19 response, including support to Ministry of Health, national and regional institutes and partners.

Background:

Viet Nam has made considerable progress in strengthening health emergency preparedness over past years. The Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emergencies (APSED III) has long served as a framework for action, to advance implementation of IHR (2005) core capacities. The progress in IHR core capacities has been demonstrated by Viet Nam early and successful response to the COVID-19 emergency to date, which has included a strong laboratory response. Viet Nam currently has capacity for approximately 50,000 RT-PCR tests daily at more than 175 laboratory sites and has capacity for VOI/VOC detection and viral characterization with three facilities conducting NGS, as routine.

However, there are a number of lessons learned from the COVID-19 global emergency and it is clear that efforts in country should continue to further strengthen public health emergency preparedness and response, including the laboratory technical area. Specifically, the COVID-19 emergency has highlighted the need for an official public health referral laboratory system, with clear testing algorithms, a functional reference network, surge capacity plans, evidence-based introduction of new laboratory methods and close linkage with surveillance and risk assessment. The last year has also demonstrated the need to continue to improve the laboratory biorisk management; ensuring laboratory biosafety and biosecurity systems are in place for a safe and secure laboratory testing, in line with the new WHO Laboratory Biosafety Manual 4th Edition. In addition, throughout the COVID-19 situation, the fundamental importance of laboratory quality management has been highlighted and further efforts are nessissary to ensure laboratory techniques in Viet Nam are always quality assured.

Lastly, although COVID-19 remains critical for future laboratory support, efforts must continue across other priority areas, such as supporting the improvement of country capacity to detect, prevent and control infections with antibiotic resistance bacteria. In particular, work will focus on improving laboratory-based AMR surveillance and contributing the surveillance component of a new national strategy to combat AMR, together with MOH and other international partners.

Work to be performed

  • Liaise closely with national counterparts at the MOH as well as regional institutes, in particular the NICs, to provide technical support for emergency response, including for the COVID-19 in the area of laboratory testing such as through supporting guideline development, training, testing strategy design as well as assistance in response to media requests, with WHE team.
  • Support WHE team in providing technical assistance to Ministry of Health (MOH) in strengthen IHR core capacities for laboratories and public health microbiology, in line with the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emergencies III (APSED-III), including laboratory-based surveillance of priority pathogens.
  • Promotes coordination among partners from national laboratories and international/regional laboratories towards strengthening national systems for laboratory biosafety, biosecurity and quality and AMR laboratory-based surveillance.
  • Performs other related duties as may be required.

Planned timelines (subject to confirmation)

Start date:  01/07/2021

End date:   15/12/2021

Address for applications: Administrative Officer World Health Organization UN Building, 304 Kim Ma Street, Hanoi, Viet Nam Or by email at: wpvnmapplicants@who.int

Note: applicants should indicate vacancy notice number and title of position in the email subject

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WHO: World Health Organization