A year ago, amid the chaotic background of a global pandemic, medical student Ian Soh launched an international movement that gathered youths from around the world to combat misinformation on Covid-19.
The movement, dubbed #moreviralthanvirus has since reached more than 1.5 million people across the world and attracted the attention of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“One year ago, the world was chaotic. You heard about doctors being on the frontline trying to treat patients.
“As a medical student and a young adult, I didn’t really know what I could do to help, ” said Soh.
“The movement was initially launched to unite medical students to help correct misinformation in a way that is relevant to the local context of their respective countries.
“There was a lot of medical jargon in the media and I thought as medical students, we would be able to break down the complex terms into simple words that people could understand.
“As mentioned by WHO deputy director-general Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, we might not be able to treat patients yet but we could treat the world with our doses of truth, ” said the 20-year-old Johorean.
Soh, who is currently in his second year of medical school at
St George’s University of London, England, noted that most of the guidance and information from WHO was in English.
“There has been plenty of good guidance in English but due to the lack of translation into local context, it could be difficult for people in certain parts of the world to receive the message, ” he said, adding this was where he was able to step in to bridge the gap.
“Not only have we translated information into different languages, we also make sure that it is relevant to the local context of the countries, ” he pointed out.
Soh said the movement started on March 22 last year, where medical students from across 30 countries wrote letters in more than 20 languages.
“In just some 10 days, despite the global lockdown, we were able to unite young people from more than 100 countries to translate information into more than 50 different languages, ” he said, adding that the movement later gathered strength with the participation of youths outside the medical field.
He urged more youths to play their part and get involved in the efforts within their communities.
“This is a fight for our generation and we need your help, ” he said while expressing hope that Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah along with other government and healthcare stakeholders as well as celebrities and social media influencers would support the movement’s efforts.