Student founds global youth movement
Published: 24 June 2020
First year medical student Ian Soh helped found #MOREVIRALTHANTHEVIRUS, a global youth movement with members in over 100 different countries seeking to tackle misinformation around Covid-19. Ian was recently invited to speak with other young leaders at a webinar organised by the World Health Organisation about the role that young people can play during the pandemic.
Ian explains, “#MOREVIRALTHANTHEVIRUS was set up by medical students around the world because we wanted to empower youths and young adults from different nationalities and backgrounds to use their own voice to share accurate information around Covid-19.
“As we are only students, we are unable to treat any Covid-19 patients. However, we believe that we have a social responsibility to educate the public with the key messages from the WHO in an attempt to correct misinformation around the virus.
“To date we have representation in over 100 countries, including 23 St George’s students*. We have also been publicised by the World Health Organisation, World Medical Association, Elsevier as well as locally in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Argentina, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa.”
“Since I was young, I’ve always felt the need to be responsible as a global citizen to increase public awareness on medical issues. Medicine interests me as it is a life subject and it's ever-changing. It has taught me the importance of always looking to learn and improve, and of self-reflection.”
A sign of hope
“I was then invited by the WHO to the webinar they hosted on 5 May, representing #MOREVIRALTHANTHEVIRUS. There were 808 participants from around the world looking to find out more about how young people are contributing to the Covid-19 response and how they see their future in a post-pandemic world.
“The topics discussed included the stigmatisation of healthcare workers, the need for a safe working environment (including protective equipment), dispelling myths around Covid-19 and the mental health challenges that the pandemic presents.
“The webinar was a sign of hope to me. The dialogue between the WHO and the other youth leaders was refreshing. It was really encouraging to see the support for like-minded youths from all around the world. No doubt, these are indeed difficult times for everyone but it is essentially also an opportunity for all of us to unite our efforts.
“I hope #MOREVIRALTHANTHEVIRUS can be a symbol of hope. Our movement has shown that even in one of the greatest healthcare crises of all time, with many countries going into lockdown, we are still able to unite young people globally. Hopefully, this gives us all inspiration for dealing with Covid-19 and beyond.”
To find out more about Ian’s movement, search @MoreViralThanTheVirus on Facebook or Instagram or go to the organisation’s website.
*The 23 St George’s students involved to date are: Lucy Gelan, Aiden Sadra, Anahita Dadali, Junha Kang, Aditya Dhiran, Parker O'Neill, Elisabeth Bonor, Pierre Konstanteen, Murad Gasimov, Sofia Ayinla, Amin Alshankiti, Nicholas Boichuk, Alicia Dutto-Lacouture, Nghi Tu, Aizhan Uteubayeva, Arzu Veli, Priyanshu Saha, Tim Pike, George Hadji, Becky Kemp, Yuti Khare, Dale Mariano, Stephanie Fang.