The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking experts to serve as members one of the Malaria Policy Advisory Group (MPAG). This “call for experts” provides information about the advisory group in question, the expert profiles being sought, the process to express interest, and the process of selection.
The scale-up of malaria control efforts, coupled with major investments in malaria research, has produced impressive public health impact in a number of countries. Although progress has recently stalled, the development of new tools and strategies to further accelerate progress have highlighted a growing need for WHO to rapidly review increasing amounts of evidence and update technical recommendations.
The MPAG – formerly called Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) – was established following an extensive review of the policy-setting process for malaria control and elimination, initiated by the Global Malaria Programme. The process was conducted with the help of a specially convened external advisory group who reviewed previous and existing departmental policy processes and successful policy models from other WHO departments. It was this group that proposed the concept and architecture of a permanent strategic advisory body. The MPAG’s inaugural meeting was held in January 2012.
Functions of the MPAG
The MPAG was established in 2011 to provide independent advice to WHO to enhance the control and elimination of malaria. An independent advisory group bringing together the world’s foremost experts on malaria, the MPAG provides strategic advice and technical input to WHO, and extends to all aspects of malaria control and elimination, as part of a transparent, responsive and credible process. The MPAG advises the WHO Director-General and the Global Malaria Programme (GMP) specifically on:
- appropriate malaria policies and standards based on data from malaria programme implementation by Member States and malaria control partners as well as reviews of the best available evidence;
- engagement of WHO in malaria-related initiatives;
- major issues and challenges to achieving global malaria goals; and
- identification of priority activities to address identified challenges.
Operations of the MPAG
The MPAG is an expert group comprised of 16 members. It is currently chaired by Professor Dyann Wirth, Richard Pearson Strong Professor of Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health.
MPAG members serve in an independent and personal capacity and represent a broad range of disciplines, expertise, and experience encompassing many aspects of malaria control and elimination. They are malariologists with a broad view of the interplay between scientific, political, economic and financial considerations. Members of MPAG, including the Chairperson, have been appointed to serve for an initial term of up to 4 years, renewable once, for an additional period of up to 4 years.
MPAG members are expected to meet annually at least two times (virtually or in person) at WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, usually for 2-3 days each time. Interim teleconferences may be required of the members. The working language of the group will be English.
Prior to being appointed as MPAG members and prior to renewal of term, nominees are subject to conflict of interest assessment by WHO based on information they have disclosed on the WHO Declaration of Interest (DOI) form. In addition, MPAG members have an ongoing obligation throughout their tenure to inform WHO of any changes to the information they have disclosed on the DOI form. Summaries of relevant disclosed interests that may be perceived to give rise to real or apparent conflicts of interest are noted in MPAG reports and are made public as appropriate.
Who can express interest?
The MPAG is multidisciplinary, with members who have a range of technical knowledge, skills and experience relevant to malaria control and elimination.
WHO welcomes expressions of interest from relevant technical experts (scientists, healthcare professionals, and healthcare regulators) involved in the control and elimination of malaria with expertise the following areas:
- maternal, paediatric and international public health;
- pharmacology and internal medicine;
- parasitology, tropical and infectious diseases;
- immunology and vaccinology;
- safety and pharmacovigilance;
- health systems, economics and financing;
- surveillance, monitoring and evaluation;
- vector control and biology;
- laboratory, social and behavioral sciences;
- health communication.
Individuals from member states of EMRO, SEARO and WPRO and women are particularly encouraged to submit an application.
MPAG has ongoing member rotation, with members nominated following an open call. It is anticipated that between 2 to 5 new members will be selected annually to become members of the group, allowing a phased transition of the group membership. Selection of members following the call is outlined in the MPAG Terms of Reference.
Submitting your expression of interest
To register your interest in being considered for the Malaria Policy Advisory Group (MPAG), please submit the following documents by 21 September 2023 24:00h (midnight) CET Geneva time to email@example.com using the subject line “Expression of interest for the MPAG:
- A cover letter, indicating your motivation to apply and how you satisfy the selection criteria. Please note that, if selected, membership will be in a personal capacity. Therefore do not use the letterhead or other identification of your employer);
- Your curriculum vitae; and
- A signed and completed Declaration of Interests (DOI) form for WHO Experts, available at https://www.who.int/about/ethics/declarations-of-interest.
After submission, your expression of interest will be reviewed by WHO. Due to an expected high volume of interest, only selected individuals will be informed.
Important information about the selection processes and conditions of appointment
Members of WHO advisory groups (AGs) must be free of any real, potential or apparent conflicts of interest. To this end, applicants are required to complete the WHO Declaration of Interests for WHO Experts, and the selection as a member of a AG is, amongst other things, dependent on WHO determining that there is no conflict of interest or that any identified conflicts could be appropriately managed (in addition to WHO’s evaluation of an applicant’s experience, expertise and motivation and other criteria).
All AG members will serve in their individual expert capacity and shall not represent any governments, any commercial industries or entities, any research, academic or civil society organizations, or any other bodies, entities, institutions or organizations. They are expected to fully comply with the Code of Conduct for WHO Experts (https://www.who.int/about/ethics/declarations-of-interest). AG members will be expected to sign and return a completed confidentiality undertaking prior to the beginning of the first meeting.
At any point during the selection process, telephone interviews may be scheduled between an applicant and the WHO Secretariat to enable WHO to ask questions relating to the applicant’s experience and expertise and/or to assess whether the applicant meets the criteria for membership in the relevant AG.
The selection of members of the AGs will be made by WHO in its sole discretion, taking into account the following (non-exclusive) criteria: relevant technical expertise; experience in international and country policy work; communication skills; and ability to work constructively with people from different cultural backgrounds and orientations .The selection of AG members will also take account of the need for diverse perspectives from different regions, especially from low and middle-income countries, and for gender balance.
If selected by WHO, proposed members will be sent an invitation letter and a Memorandum of Agreement. Appointment as a member of a AG will be subject to the proposed member returning to WHO the countersigned copy of these two documents.
WHO reserves the right to accept or reject any expression of interest , to annul the open call process and reject all expressions of interest at any time without incurring any liability to the affected applicant or applicants and without any obligation to inform the affected applicant or applicants of the grounds for WHO’s action. WHO may also decide, at any time, not to proceed with the establishment of the AG, disband an existing TAG or modify the work of the AG.
WHO shall not in any way be obliged to reveal, or discuss with any applicant, how an expression of interest was assessed, or to provide any other information relating to the evaluation/selection process or to state the reasons for not choosing a member.
WHO may publish the names and a short biography of the selected individuals on the WHO internet.
AG members will not be remunerated for their services in relation to the AG or otherwise. Travel and accommodation expenses of AG members to participate in AG meetings will be covered by WHO in accordance with its applicable policies, rules and procedures.
The appointment will be limited in time as indicated in the letter of appointment.
If you have any questions about this “Call for experts”, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org well before the applicable deadline. Deadline: 21 September 2023.