Technical Officer, Geneva, Switzerland 213 views

Technical Officer

( 1905334 )

Grade : P5

Contractual Arrangement : Temporary appointment under Staff Rule 420.4

Contract duration : 12 months

Job Posting: Nov 26, 2019, 9:59:27 AM

The WHO Division of Medicines and Health Products (MHP) is composed of two departments that are responsible of two large areas of work. The first one, the Health Products Policy and Standards department is dedicated to the development of health policy and standards and their implementation in countries and the second one the Regulation and Prequalification department, is in charge of the development of health products regulations at global level and of their implementation in countries. The Health Products Policy and Standards department provides global guidance and collaborates with and supports countries for improving access to medicines and health products as a contribution to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This department hosts WHO expert committees such as those for Selection and Use of Essential Medicines and for Drug Dependence (ECDD). Work on procurement, supply chain management, pricing and appropriate use of medicines and health products is also carried out in the Health Products Policy and Standards department as well as work on the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. The Regulation and Prequalification department is responsible for the normative and standard setting work for regulatory matters, quality and safety of health products (such as medicines, vaccines, biologicals, blood products, medical devices, and diagnostics), for the prequalification of medicines, vaccines and diagnostics, the collaboration with countries for strengthening of regulatory authorities and networks, and for work on local production and substandard and falsified medical products.


Under the leadership and direct supervision of the Coordinator of the Office of the Assistant Director General for Medicines and Health Products, the incumbent will:

  • Coordinate and support the work of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD):
    • Oversee the planning and organisation of annual ECDD meetings and the prioritisation of substances to be reviewed by ECDD;
    • Oversee the commissioning of reviews and peer- reviews for substances to be assessed by ECDD and ensure they meet high quality standards;
    • Oversee the writing and editing of ECDD meeting reports and recommendations.
  • Coordinate and support the development and maintenance of the WHO surveillance and health alerts systems for New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and other harmful substances, in particular the maintenance of the WHO national focal points network and the collection, analysis and dissemination of robust data on dependence, abuse and harm of psychoactive substances.
  • Oversee and coordinate WHO work for raising global awareness on the potential for abuse, dependence and harm to health of psychoactive substances and for carrying out advocacy for preventing and addressing the harm caused by these substances.
  • Lead the development of WHO scientific papers on abuse, dependence and harm of psychoactive substances and of communication and advocacy material for countries’ decision makers and experts as well as the public; draft briefing notes and reports for WHO Senior Management.
  • Coordinate WHO ECDD collaboration with international organizations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), as well as with regional organizations, civil society and Member States, for the collection and dissemination of robust information on the most prevalent and harmful psychoactive substances, in support of the prioritization process and the review of psychoactive substances by ECDD; and for raising global awareness and advocating for best practices and approaches for preventing and addressing the risks to public health of the use of psychoactive substances including opioids.



  • Essential: Advanced-level university degree ideally at the PhD/doctoral level in pharmacology, pharmacy, toxicology, psychiatry, addiction medicine or other relevant drug-related topics.
  • Desirable: Post-doctoral degree in law, public health, pharmacology or toxicology.


  • Essential: At least 10 years of relevant professional experience in the area of psychoactive substances, controlled substances including medicines at national and international levels.
  • Desirable: Working experience and/or training in legal affairs, in project management and public health policies.


  • High level expertise and knowledge of psychoactive substances e.g. pharmacology, toxicology, dependence etc.;
  • Excellent methodological, analytical, writing and presentation skills, with the ability to produce and consolidate complex information in a concise manner and draft technical documents and briefings relevant to the programme area;
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to work in a multicultural team and maintain effective working relationships with recognized experts and stakeholders and with external organisations and country representatives;
  • Excellent planning and organizational skills, with attention to detail and with the ability to multi-task and work under pressure;
  • Ability to deal appropriately with sensitive and/or confidential information;
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, presentation software, databases and navigators.

WHO Competencies

  • Teamwork
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
  • Communication
  • Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond
  • Producing results

Use of Language Skills

  • Essential: Expert knowledge of English.
  • Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of French. Intermediate knowledge of UN 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 87,108 (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 5568 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.
  • 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.
  • For information on WHO’s operations please visit:
  • WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
  • WHO’s workforce adheres to the WHO Values Charter and is committed to put the WHO Values into practice.
  • WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
  • WHO has a mobility policy which can be found at the following link: 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.
  • Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Member States are particularly encouraged.

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