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GOARN request for assistance: Acute kidney injury, The Gambia, 2022

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ACIPC is a Member of the Global Outbreak Alert Response Network (GOARN).

Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is an abrupt (within hours) decrease in kidney function, which includes both injury (structural damage) and impairment (loss of function). It is a syndrome that rarely has a sole and distinct pathophysiology. Many patients with AKI have a mixed etiology where the presence of sepsis, ischemia and nephrotoxicity often co-exist and complicate recognition and treatment.

On 26 July 2022, the Gambia detected an unusual event at the main tertiary hospital in the country. A paediatric nephrologist reported an increase in the number of cases of AKI in young children aged between one month and 7 years. As of 29 September, a cumulative reporting revealed at least 78 cases since July, including 66 deaths (CFR 85%). Cases were reported from six out of the country seven health regions, with 86% of cases reported from three health regions (Western Region 1 and 2 and Upper River Region).

About 72% of the cases were under the age of two years. Cases were reported from six out of the country’s seven health regions, with 87% of cases reported from three health regions (Western Region 1 and 2 and Upper River Region).

Request for Assistance

The objective of this GOARN Request for assistance (RFA) is to deploy an experienced epidemiologist to conduct a case control study to elucidate risk factors associated with AKI in the Gambia.

Specific objectives:

o To test the primary hypothesis of AKI in children being associated with Escherichia coli / Escherichia fergusonii infection.
o To explore whether progression to AKI was compounded by toxins contained in medicines.
o To assess other risk factors for development of AKI.

Key Activities and Tasks:

  • Refine a draft study protocol commensurate with the aims and objectives of the study, and that meets international best standards.
  • Design appropriate tools that will be used to collect retrospective data for patients enrolled in the study including electronic platforms where necessary.
  • In collaboration with the incident manager, train local staff on the standard operating procedures and protocol of the study.
  • In collaboration with the incident manager, develop a comprehensive study budget including additional follow-ups.
  • Coordinate and supervise implementation of the study including data collection.
  • Perform analysis and report writing including a well-defined analysis and interpretation.

Key Deliverables:

  • Study protocol
  • Study Budget
  • Training of study participants
  • Analysis and detailed report

Anticipated length of deployment is 8 weeks, with the start date as soon as possible.

This is an onsite deployment. Within-country travel is expected. Currently six out of seven regions are affected, of which three have been identified as high burden regions. Expert will work in close collaboration with other members of the incident management team, WHO, MoH and Partners.


Education and training:

  • Advanced university level degree (Master’s level or above) in the relevant field for the profile (e.g. public health, epidemiology, or similar field).


  • PhD, Medical degree with specialization (incl public health), or further specialization in the area relevant to the case control study.


  • Proven experience of designing and conducting case control studies.
  • At least 7 years’ experience working as a field epidemiologist, preferably in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Experience in engaging and/or leading consultations with national authorities in development and conduct of research studies.
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze and interpret data as well as electronic data systems.


  • Experience with WHO, UN agencies, US CDC or a health cluster member organization.


  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Excellent analytical, planning and organizational skills.
  • Ability to work in the team, with limited supervision.
  • Ability to work under pressure.


  • Communication, working with people, drive for results, deciding and initiating action, relating and networking, applying technical expertise, creating and innovating, formulating strategies and concepts.


  • Excellent knowledge of English

Deployment duration:

  • 6 weeks minimum


  • 8 weeks or more.

In line with the usual GOARN procedures, WHO will cover the cost of travel and per diem (daily allowance) for staff deployed and provide logistics and security support in country. Please note there is NO SALARY associated with this work.


Please provide all required details for the offer including CV, availability date range, maximum duration for deployment and position(s) you would make yourself available for.

Please note that only complete applications from candidates, fulfilling all essential requirements listed above will be considered.

YOU MUST BE A MEMBER OF THE COLLEGE FOR YOUR APPLICATION TO BE CONSIDERED. Please include this information in your CV or correspondence.
Send your application to Dr Peta-Anne Zimmerman –