On Instagram, it’s quite common to see accounts that spread awareness about various issues through bite-sized infographics that are also aesthetically pleasing.
Some Malaysian platforms that actively do this include MISSION: Solidarity (on social issues), The Simple Sum Malaysia (on financial advice) and some of the platforms we discussed earlier Vote 18 (activated voting rights) i Safe campus (activated sexual harassment).
Recently, we came across another called teach, which provides bite-sized tips for all things medicine-related. It is run by two brothers from Malaysia, Jared and Yu, younger doctors in training who want to create a more health-informed and health-conscious society among Malaysians through verified medical information.
There is no sanitary slang here
“When we were in medical school, we realized that there was a huge disparity of information between health professionals and the public,” the Siow brothers shared with Vulcan Post.
“We felt that this should not be the case, and we were always frustrated by the difficulty the public had in accessing filtered and easy-to-understand health information.”
The brothers also felt that health literacy was something too long and sophisticated at the time, where people would have to spend a lot of time researching to try to wrap their heads around difficult medical concepts.
So Jared and Yu took advantage of this Instagram trend to make health fun, “attractive,” exciting, and most of all, understandable to people who aren’t part of medicine.
On his Instagram, you’ll find posts usually on the pastel pink theme, with a simple question at the beginning of a thread accompanied by some nice graphics, which makes them pleasing to the eye and more accessible, especially for those with little attention.
Ideally, Jared and Yu would want their platform to reach people from all walks of life, regardless of their demographics. Still, they are aware of its limitations as a platform based primarily on social media, which they realized attracts mainly teens and young adults.
“However, we make it a point to reach different communities periodically,” they stressed.
Docere is not the first health project the brothers have worked on; once organized a virtual workshop with young people from The Kalsom movement by raising health awareness.
It lasted for two months, with modules on vaccination, mental health and daily health, and they plan to organize similar ones in the future.
The team has never known IRL
Since they began in December 2020, Docere’s team of resident doctors and designers had never met. Jared currently works at the University of Malaya Medical Center (UMMC), while Yu works at the Hull Royal Infirmary in England.
Currently, the two are completing their foundation training (a two-year program) and have not yet decided where they want to specialize, but Jared shared with us that he is very interested in public health.
Because work and communications are done virtually, it’s sometimes difficult to stay collectively on the same page, especially when creating content for Docere.
“This process is usually the most labor-intensive, as it requires a lot of research and amendments back and forth.”
“Having to navigate the time zone difference and communicate with Yu can sometimes be a challenge, especially when combined with the irregularity of our medical changes,” Jared explained, but proves his proactivity in intervening when the another can’t figure out how they can keep the platform running.
Expanding to produce items as well
While its main project is to curate small-scale content for its platform, Docere also includes doctors for writing articles and publish them weekly. They are longer than their Instagram content, but most are 101 years old on health.
The articles really started with her friends and friends of friends who were interested in writing, and little by little they were approached by doctors who had heard about her platform and who also wanted to contribute.
Another off – social media initiative in which Jared participated was a Voice 2, a local podcast where students exchange ideas on a variety of topics. He episodes was related to COVID-19, where it addressed issues related to vaccination, such as side effects, speculation about an annual punch, low enrollment rate, and so on.
Monetizing your content can be tricky
“In fact, we haven’t thought about getting revenue yet, but at first there had been some opportunities,” they told Vulcan Post. Medical and product companies approached them for sponsored publications or offered to work closely with them on various campaigns.
“The only reason we rejected them goes back to the basic principle we follow at all times at Docere: to provide the public with free and accessible health information through an objective goal.”
Jared and Yu stressed that accepting these monetization opportunities can be a slippery slope when it comes to health, because information is often shared with an underlying personal agenda, whether for financial gain or more.
“Opinions that are expressed with authority and conviction can seem tremendously similar to the facts,” they added, and that is not the approach they want to take with Docere.
Ultimately, the brothers ’goal for Docere is to get Malaysians to think more through the goal of preventive medicine, through which health problems can be detected before symptoms appear or worsen. To continue educating, they will soon be collaborating with other Instagram pages.
- You can check out Docere’s Instagram here and your website here.
- You can read more COVID-19 articles we have written here.
Featured Image Credit: Jared and Yu Siow, founders of Docere