WHO representative at the National Police Headquarters

"Exchange of experience" - is a sentence that appeared many times during the meeting in the National Police Headquarters held on August 5. Dr. Paloma Cuchi - Head of the World Health Organization Representation met with general Kamil Bracha - Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Police, colonel Adam Frankowski, Doctor of Medical Science - Deputy Director of the Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police (CLKP) and lieutenant colonel Magdalena Spólnicka, , M.D., Ph.D. - Head of the Biology Department of the CLKP. During the meeting, colonel Adam Frankowski presented a detailed procedure of genetic screening for SARS-CoV-2 among police officers and civil employees. Special procedures created and applied in the CLKP enable efficient and safe testing and they met with a very positive response from WHO

The Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police in consultation with the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, on the basis of the applicable sanitary and epidemiological regulations and guidelines of the World Health Organization, has developed a detailed method of selecting people to be tested and procedures for the proceedings of police organizational units. Particular attention was paid to issues related to ensuring the safety of both the investigators and people conducting the research as well as the personnel responsible for preparing and transporting samples. A special algorithm was also developed to determine the rules and conditions for screening for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, taking into account the necessary equipment, instructions for taking and transporting biological material.

During the meeting, Dr. Paloma Cuchi said:

- I am observing your efforts with a great interest. Cooperation with the police is very important for the WHO, especially during the pandemic. The police operate in a number of areas. In many aspects these operations are in line with the objectives of the World Health Organisation.

I am very impressed by the handbook of procedures for responding to threats related to SARS-CoV-2 created by the Polish Police, as well as the testing procedure developed by the CLKP. As practice shows, the system you use is effective, and this is the most important thing. There are no 100% efficient methods, but what you have created is very effective and reduces the risk - she said.

General Kamil Bracha thanked the Head of the World Health Organization's Representative Office for her commitment and support during the reorganization of the Department of Biology of the CLKP to adapt the Department to virological tests. He also said that the introduced system proves useful, because since the beginning of the WHO's announcement of the pandemic on 11 March this year, 305 police officers out of nearly 100,000 thousand officers have been infected with the coronavirus, of which 170 police officers have been infected in the performance of their duties.

- While working on the development of a procedure and algorithm enabling police officers and civilian employees of the Police to perform genetic screening tests, we used many of the solutions already functioning in the Police. As a result, a large part of the procedures was introduced at no cost - emphasized colonel Adam Frankowski.

During the meeting, Dr. Paloma Cuchi asked many detailed questions about the applied solutions.

- We produced standardized test sets. Each of them consists of a foil envelope of a slightly larger format than an A4 sheet. Inside there is a "swab", a tube with virus deactivation fluid, a manual and two biohazard bags, which allow safe transport of potentially infectious material. Each element has a barcode to which the data of a particular person from the Police are ascribed – said lieutenant colonel Magdalena Spólnicka, responding to Dr. Paloma Cuchis’s question - All sensitive data are anonymised and secured.

During the meeting the Head of the WHO Representation in Poland announced that the Polish police system presented to her will be showcased in other countries.

- We are waiting for a further fight against the pandemic and it is worthwhile to exchange experiences, especially those that work well. It is also important to have a long-term perspective, especially to follow up individuals who got sick  and then recovered. I hope that the cooperation we have started will also last once we will be through with pandemic. Our experts are at your disposal, both in terms of training and specialist advice - said Dr. Paloma Cuchi during the meeting.

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