The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking experts to serve as members of the Technical Advisory Group on WHO Maternal and Perinatal Health Guidelines. 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 WHO is the normative entity of the United Nations tasked to develop and disseminate evidence-based guidance to improve health outcomes. The Maternal Perinatal Health (MPH) Team of the WHO Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and HRP (the UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction) maintains a portfolio of over 300 recommendations related to maternal/perinatal care. As part of its commitment to addressing global and country-level needs for up-to-date guidance on interventions to improve maternal/perinatal health, the MPH Team instituted a “living guideline approach” to optimize updates of recommendations. More information about HRP.
Regular and systematic assessment of contextual factors across all existing recommendations and consideration for the need to issue recommendations for emergent issues in maternal perinatal health are required to ensure that the published recommendations remain valid in the context of available evidence. This role was previously performed by the Executive Guideline Steering Group which maintained a leadership role in the guideline updating procedures and supported WHO on priorities for updates to the guidance portfolio.
This Technical Advisory Group will provide continuity in the work previously undertaken by the Executive Guideline Steering Group.
Functions of the Technical Advisory Group on WHO Maternal and Perinatal Health Guidelines
- To recommend to WHO priority guideline recommendations or questions for updating existing maternal perinatal recommendations (or guideline questions) for updating;
- To identify and recommend new questions that should be addressed within the context of updating maternal and perinatal health thematic areas already covered by existing WHO guidelines;
- To recommend to WHO a scope for new guidelines within maternal and perinatal health thematic areas, including specific issues that need to be addressed in future WHO guidelines;
- To support WHO in maintaining an up-to-date and balanced portfolio of evidence-based recommendations in maternal and perinatal health.
Operations of the Technical Advisory Group on WHO Maternal and Perinatal Health Guidelines
The Advisory Group (AG) shall normally meet at least once each year. In-person meetings are held for approximately 3-4 days each time. However, WHO may convene additional meetings. AG meetings may be held in person (at WHO headquarters in Geneva or another location, as determined by WHO) or virtually, via video or teleconference.
AG meetings may be held in open and/or closed sessions, as decided by the Chairperson in consultation with WHO.
(a) Open sessions: Open sessions shall be convened for the sole purpose of the exchange of non-confidential information and views, and may be attended by Observers (as defined in paragraph III.3 below).
(b) Closed sessions: The sessions dealing with the formulation of advice to WHO shall be restricted to the members of the AG and essential WHO Secretariat staff.
The quorum for AG meetings shall be two-thirds of the members.
Members of the Advisory Group may be requested to review documents in between meetings (virtual or in-person). Interim teleconferences may be required of the members.
The Advisory Group may establish sub-groups to work on specific issues. The deliberations of these groups will be by virtual tele- or video conference. No quorum requirement will apply.
The working language for the group will be English.
Who can express interest?
The Technical Advisory Group on WHO Maternal and Perinatal Health Guidelines will be multidisciplinary, with members who have a range of technical knowledge, skills and experience relevant to maternal, perinatal, and newborn health. Approximately  may be selected.
WHO welcomes expressions of interest from:
- Scientists, healthcare professionals, and consumer representatives, with expertise in the following areas:
- Clinical practice as related to the screening, prevention, diagnosis, and management of maternal, perinatal, and newborn health conditions; as related to pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal periods
- Maternal, perinatal, and newborn health research,
- Policy and programme development in maternal, perinatal, and newborn health
- Health systems and programme delivery; and/or
- Ethics, equity, human rights and gender in public health and sexual and reproductive health.
- Perspectives of affected individuals
Submitting your expression of interest
To register your interest in being considered for the [name of the advisory group, please submit the following documents by 5 April 2023, 12:00h (noon) Geneva time to firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line “Expression of interest for the Technical Advisory Group on WHO Maternal and Perinatal Health Guidelines”.
- 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 here.
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 an 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. 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 into account 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 an 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 email@example.com well before the applicable deadline.