Raising Awareness On Surgical Infections In Malaysia

Public education initiatives on surgical site infections could be the key to ensuring safe operations, empowering the public to take a more active role in their health.

AsianScientist (Jan. 10, 2022) – With physicians wielding their trusty scalpel, surgical operations are a mainstay of clinical practice today. However, these procedures can come with a host of complications, such as surgical site infections (SSIs).

Whether due to poor hygiene or other factors like underlying medical conditions, surgical wounds sometimes provide an entry way for disease-causing agents to infiltrate the body. SSIs, which account for about 20 percent of infections acquired in the healthcare setting, represent a significant source of morbidity and mortality for patients, adversely impacting their quality of life.

Ethicon—part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies—sought to raise awareness about these risks among the Malaysian general public. In partnership with national media outlet, The Star, Ethicon delivered a public education webinar on SSIs titled “Are you or your loved one having a surgery soon?” last July 7, 2021.

An estimated 60 percent of these SSIs are preventable, noted Dr. Sasheela Sri La Sri Ponnampalavanar, Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician and Head of Infections Control Department at a teaching hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

Dr. Sasheela and Dr. Azlina Amir Abbas, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon at the same hospital, led the virtual conversation to emphasize the best practices for infection-free surgeries. The first of its kind program was screened over Zoom and Facebook platforms, reaching over 350 people from across Malaysia.

Meanwhile, an expert commentary published earlier this year on SSI prevention in the Asia Pacific region noted that a key challenge is poor patient awareness and responsibility.

Suboptimal patient compliance or thoroughness regarding pre-operative bathing can interfere with even the best SSI prevention efforts,” the authors wrote. “In some areas, there may be a lack of awareness among patients and families regarding post-operative care instructions, increasing the risk of SSI following discharge.”

By exploring prevention strategies to help overcome these challenges, Ethicon’s public education session aimed to empower patients and their families to take a more active role in infection prevention. During the session, the audience posed numerous questions, demonstrating the desire to take greater ownership of their pre- and post-operative surgical care.

Overall, 98 percent of the audience voted the session as relevant, applicable and beneficial. The program laid the foundation for greater understanding and assurance of safe surgery among the general public, while also elucidating a need for continued education.

As gaps still remain, Ethicon is committed to continuously promote SSI prevention strategies for healthcare professionals and the public alike.

Through educational initiatives, SSI Bundles and Surveillance programs, Ethicon aims to foster stronger partnerships between physician and patient in preventing SSI and enhancing clinical care through effective and safe surgeries.


Asian Scientist Magazine is a media partner of Ethicon.


Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Ethicon.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

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