Call for Consultant for the VMNIS micronutrients database

Terms of reference

Title: Consultant

Contract type: Consultant

Duration of contract: 2 months

Starting date: 4 March 2013

Application deadline: 31 January 2013, 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


The World Health Organization (WHO) Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System (VMNIS) supports Member States and their partners in monitoring the vitamin and mineral nutrition status of populations. It provides up-to-date national and first-administrative level information on a variety of biological and clinical indicators of vitamin and mineral nutrition in different population groups, including anaemia, iodine, folate, zinc, vitamin D and vitamin A. The data is compiled from nutrition and health cross-sectional surveys.

The VMNIS is maintained by the Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit, Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, at WHO. It includes several sections: the database, indicators, laboratory directory, tools and resources, and publications.

In 2009, one of the components of the VMNIS, the micronutrients database, underwent two evaluations. The first was of its epidemiological features, and the second was based on public health informatics criteria of useful and efficient surveillance systems. Based on these evaluations, and other internally identified potential uses for the VMNIS’ database, an upgrade and expansion was initiated.

To speed up the development process, the update of the VMNIS micronutrients database was divided into three phases.

  • The first phase of that upgrade and expansion was the re-structuring of the micronutrients database IT platform, where the information on vitamin and mineral deficiencies is compiled. The database was expanded to include biomarkers of nutritional status of additional vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, folate, vitamin D as well as indicators of inflammation. The IT platform was restructured with the flexibility to incorporate other nutrients in the future. Additional fields allowed for extraction of additional information on laboratory methods used to measure biomarkers, the sampling method, and other survey characteristics important to assess the data. The expansion also incorporated advances in information technology which have occurred over the last decade.
  • The second phase is the migration of survey data into the new Micronutrients Database structure and is currently underway.
  • The third phase, the development of an interactive dissemination website, is almost finalised.

Purpose of the work

The Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit needs technical support in concluding the phase II by verifying the accuracy of the data currently entered into the new micronutrients database of the WHO VMNIS.


To verify, approve and, if necessary, enter the most recent micronutrient surveys available for each of the WHO Member States.


Under the supervision of the Epidemiologist of the Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit, the consultant will:

  • check for accuracy the surveys currently included in the VMNIS database against hard copies, highlighting any improvements.
  • help identify and enter into the database the most recent surveys published in English language.

Output and deliverables

  • 194 surveys verified and approved in the system.

Required qualifications


Postgraduate degree in public health or epidemiology from a recognized college or university is essential. Knowledge of vitamin and mineral nutrition is desirable.


  • Sound knowledge of cross-sectional survey designs;
  • 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.


Written and spoken fluency of English is essential. Working knowledge of other WHO languages is an advantage.


The Consultancy will have a duration of 2 months starting 4 March 2013.


WHO will pay for travel to and return from Geneva, Switzerland in economy airfare.

Financial agreement

A monthly rate is based on Consultants Pay Band Ranges – estimated at a P2 level.

Confidentiality of information

All the reports and the information included in the database are property of WHO and will not be made available to others.

Interested candidates must submit their CV or an updated WHO profile in PDF to not later than 31 January 2013. To fill out a WHO profile, please go to Please include “CONSULTANT VMNIS” in the subject matter of your email application.