Call for consultant - Senior Consultant, Iron Research
Terms of reference
Title: Senior Consultant, Iron Research
Contract type: Consultant
Duration of contract: 12 months
Date: 17 December 2012
Application deadline: 19 November 2012 Geneva COB
Duty station: Geneva, Switzerland
Organization unit: World Health Organization/Noncommunicable Disease and Mental Health/Department of Nutrition for Health and Development/ Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit
At the forty-fifth World Health Assembly, held in 1992, in resolution WHA45.33 Member States were urged “to establish, as part of the health and nutrition monitoring system, a micronutrient monitoring and evaluation system capable of assessing the magnitude and distribution of vitamin A and iron deficiency disorders, and monitor the implementation and impact of control programmes”. Additionally, in 2010, the sixty-third World Health Assembly approved the first organization-wide strategy on research. The strategy – Research for health – defines a common framework for how research is approached in the World Health Organization (WHO) and the role WHO is taking in global health research. Research for health has been defined to cover five areas of activity, two of which include the measurement of the magnitude and distribution of a health problem and the evaluation of the impact of solutions or interventions on the level and distribution of a health problem.
In 2010, WHO convened a meeting in Panama City, Panama, to discuss and initiate the work of updating WHO guidelines on indicators for the assessment of vitamin A and iron status in populations. Indicators to study iron status in populations are important to determine the magnitude of the problem and decide on interventions or for monitoring and evaluating the impact of public health programmes that include one or more interventions affecting iron status (education, supplementation, point-of-use fortification, food fortification of staple foods, deworming). Progress towards reducing the prevalence of iron deficiency and nutritional anaemia worldwide will depend on improved selection and standardization of iron indicators in these settings although these indicators may also be affected by diverse factors such as age, gender, sickness, smoking, inflammation, making difficult to identify a unique indicator of iron status.
The predictive value of these indicators for significant functional outcomes may provide the basis for selection and standardization. Iron indicators considered to be of highest priority to undergo review are: ferritin (serum or plasma); transferrin receptor (serum or plasma); ratio of transferrin receptor and ferritin as an indicator of total body iron; zinc protoporphyrin; haemoglobin; and transferrin saturation (for iron excess/overload).
The Senior Consultant, Iron Research in close collaboration with the technical staff from the Evidence and Programme Guidance, Department of Nutrition for Health and Development will:
- Prepare a narrative review on the genetic, biological, behavioural and contextual determinants of iron status in children and women of reproductive age.
- Review the strengths and limitations of current laboratory methods used to assess key indicators of iron status in populations.
- Review all available sources of data on the relationship between iron status functional outcomes from in vitro and in vivo (animal and human) studies.
- Determine feasible statistical methods for summarizing, retrieving, assessing and modeling the evidence, taking into account their assumptions, strengths and limitations.
- Retrieve, summarize, assess and model up-to-date evidence to establish the magnitude of the response of different iron indicators to micronutrient related interventions in priority target populations, evaluating their distribution at the population level, and the possible effect of fasting, inflammation, infection, pregnancy, co-morbidities
- Systematic reviews on haemoglobin, serum/plasma/erythrocyte ferritin, serum transferrin receptor and transferrin saturation as indicators of iron status in anaemic or non-anaemic populations to define iron replete, iron deficient or iron overloaded individuals/populations.
- Systematic review on comparative analysis on methods for haemoglobin, serum/plasma/erythrocyte ferritin, serum transferrin receptor and transferrin saturation determinations.
Advanced degree in biochemistry, medicine, public health or health-associated science from a recognized college or university is essential. Post-doctoral training in biochemistry or nutritional sciences desirable.
- Sound knowledge of the specific or technical area of iron nutrition and metabolism;
- Experience and proven track record in research through multiple methods, including laboratory methods, basic and applied nutrition;
- Experience in the conduction of systematic reviews;
- Ability to work harmoniously as a member of a team, adapt to diverse educational and cultural backgrounds and maintain a high standard of personal conduct.
- Other Skills: Proficiency in standard MS Office and statistical package applications. Excellent writing and presentation skills.
More than 15 years of nutrition research experience is essential. Working experience in both developing and developed countries, including experience in developing research protocols and conducting large trials in the area of micronutrients.
Written and spoken fluency of English is essential. Working knowledge of other United Nations languages is an advantage.
he Consultancy is expected for a period of 12 months starting 17 December 2012.
WHO will pay for travel to and return from Geneva, Switzerland in economy airfare.
Applicants are kindly requested to submit your Curriculum Vitae at email@example.com with the subject line: “SENIOR CONSULTANT, IRON RESEARCH”