Ruth McCabe completes her secondment at WHO

Tue, 26 September 2023

One of our University of Oxford PhD students, Ruth McCabe recently completed a summer secondment at the WHO and tells us about her experience there:

Across May – July 2023, I worked in the Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses Unit within the World Health Organization Emergencies Programme in Geneva, under the supervision of Dr Sophie Von Dobschütz, Technical Lead for MERS-CoV and novel coronaviruses, and Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Unit Head and Technical Lead for SARS-CoV-2.

Although I was hired primarily to update, maintain and analyse the global MERS-CoV line list, my role expanded far beyond this, and I gained additional experience across a range of tasks. These included organising the MERS-CoV global technical meeting being held later this year in Riyadh; providing statistical support to WHO-funded surveillance studies to detect MERS-CoV in areas with large dromedary camel populations but no reported cases and producing documents to assist countries in the African region apply for funding for MERS-related projects.

I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to undertake this work – it has given me direct experience of working across a range of public health activities beyond statistical analysis alone and I am now more familiar with the operations of the WHO and other global partners. Without the generous support of the HPRU-EZI, I would not have been able to have had this important and formative experience.