Honavar PU

Hygiene is the key to a healthy life. It is reflected in one’s lifestyle and is certainly linked to a person’s health and quality of life. The month of May has seen two important days related to hygiene. In the first week, 5th May was observed as ‘World Hygiene Day’ and the last week saw 28th May as ‘World Menstrual Hygiene Day’. These days help create mass awareness regarding issues related to general and menstrual hygiene respectively. Certainly, the importance of these days cannot be less emphasized as these contribute significantly in educating and training individuals with an aim of achieving good health standards. Obstetrics and gynecology is widely a surgical branch. Complications arising out of surgical procedures are often encountered inspite of possible precautions and adherence to surgical ethics and protocols. Hemorrhage, injury to surrounding viscus and their sequelae, need for blood and blood products are some of them. Surgical site infection or sepsis is a known ghastly complication. Postoperative infective spectrum can range from skin and subcutaneous infection to bacteremia or fulminant sepsis leading to multi organ failure and even death. It is a complication that can have a catastrophic event yet, is completely preventable or effects can be minimized if protocols of surgical asepsis are followed. Surgery has seen evolution in many aspects, right from surgical techniques, suturing methods, evolution of anesthesia to asepsis and disinfection. Asepsis has evolved from operating with bare or ungloved hands to washing with simple soap water solutions from wide mouthed basins and eventually to use of antiseptics for pre procedural scrubbing and automated sensor operated taps. Use of protective wear like gowns, footwear, caps and masks, sterilization of  instruments and disinfection of operating surfaces have proved their role in asepsis. It was Joseph Lister, ‘The Father of Modern Surgery‘ who promoted the idea of sterile surgery by introducing phenols to sterilize instruments and clean wounds. He noted that sepsis is caused not only due to contamination from the environment or patient but also from the health care individuals coming in contact with the patients that caused contamination of the wounds, catheters and surfaces. Hence, the emphasis is on hand hygiene. World Health Organization (WHO) has widely advocated hand hygiene and asepsis. Their module promotes the five moments of hand hygiene that are; before touching a patient, before clean or aseptic procedures, after body fluid exposure, after touching a patient and after touching patient surroundings. It has been observed that religious incorporation of these moments of hand hygiene in health care setup has reduced contaminations, infections and septic foci by huge numbers. Hence, it is widely promoted. Menstrual hygiene is another important aspect that needs open discussion.  Menstruation is a monthly reality yet linked with orthodox practices and seen as a taboo in many countries and traditions. This leads to many women and girls to miss work or days of school. It needs serious destigmatization. Easy accessibility of products and medical assistance, right information to youngsters and target population, provision of adequate and safe sanitation helps create equity and opportunity, which can lead to empowerment by eradication of a long standing discrimination. Many schools have incorporated menstrual hygiene tutorials contributing to the movement of women empowerment. Mass awareness through skits, demonstrations especially on ‘World Menstrual Hygiene Day’ definitely leaves an impact and feeling of acceptance and motivation. Thus, simple measures like hand hygiene or gestures of acceptance and practice of menstrual hygiene is important at individual as well as communal levels to avoid the burden of morbidity or mortality eventually to provide the best possible quality of life to health seekers.