Worldwide participants are welcome to apply

Conversations with local teams, mentors and MSD leaders will be held in English.

Country to be implemented first: SOUTH AFRICA

Required language: English 


Most South African parents find it difficult to use actual support for acquiring vaccine information and tracking its administration.

Traditional methods like brochures, flyers or national official vaccination websites are not optimal to properly support and follow the vaccination program of their children after the doctors’ visit, and sometimes parents are also overwhelmed with information received from the healthcare professionals.

There is the opportunity to use digital solutions to facilitate vaccination management, specially addressing mothers.

For this challenge, MSD is mainly targeting the Private market because it currently has no Paediatric vaccine under the State tender. As a side note, mothers visiting the Public Clinics tend not to have access to smart phones.


Some indicators to estimate the number of potential users in South Africa are:

  • The yearly birth cohort of babies under Private healthcare plans is around 55,000.
  • A child will get 8 – 10 vaccines on average.
  • For prescribing the solution to the parents, we estimate a population of 3,000 private Nursing Sisters, 200 private Pediatricians and 3,000 private General Practitioners (GPs). The Nursing Sisters and Pediatricians are more likely to prescribe. 

Some considerations about vaccination schedules:

  • The Public and Private schedules are different. 
  • The Private schedule is drawn up every year under the leadership of the Pediatrician Management Group (PMG), sponsored by some of the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines. More information here
  • The Private schedule has several options depending on the practice of choice. More information here.
  • The Public Expanded Programme on Immunisation in South Africa (EPI-SA) schedule is published by the Department of Health. More information here.

Need/opportunity  description

MSD aims to support the launch of a new (mobile) digital solution that helps, especially mothers, to learn and manage the vaccination of their children.

Core functionality:

  • Vaccination schedule manager (calendar):
    • Track the vaccines each child needs.
    • Alert/remind when the next vaccine is due.
  • Intuitive access to updated relevant information:
    • Costs and reimbursements under the different healthcare plans.
    • Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) -simplified package inserts written in layman’s terms so patients can better understand the terminology-. Find here an example for Rotateq.

Nice to solve:

  • Vaccines required when travelling to another country.
  • Safe record keeping of other relevant health information (e.g. children health indicators)

The solution should be very usable while informative, and appealing to women. It should also be cost-effective.

Who is impacted?

  • South African parents, especially mothers, with children between 0 – 12 years.
  • Stakeholders that would prescribe the solution:
    • Vaccination Clinics and Nursing Sisters
    • Physicians, mainly Paediatricians, but also General Practitioners.

Reasons why this is happening

There are several vaccination digital solutions in various shapes and functionalities available (like this one). However, they do not target the private South African market, are not convenient in terms of reminders or are not frequently updated.

What successful outcomes are expected?

The solution

  • Becomes the reference resource for South African parents to learn and manage vaccination of their children, especially for those with private healthcare plans.
  • Number of downloads/registered users.
  • Number of individual doctors and/or private centres prescribing the solution.

Preferred relationship model

MSD initially aims for a sponsorship model where, apart from the $20.000 grant, it will support the company with the: 

  • Adaptation of the digital solution to the South African market, including regulation, relevant information, etc.
  • Access and networking with scientific societies to get approvals, in particular with the Paediatrician Management Group (PMG) as well as with Scientific Leaders from academic institutions around South Africa.
  • Support market rollout leveraging national MSD channels.

What would mean that the relationship has been successful in 1 year

  • The solution has obtained clinical approval.
  • It is ready for download in South Africa.
  • It has been promoted in the market.
  • It has been downloaded X* times.
  • It is regularly prescribed by Y* professionals.

*Note: The targeted numbers will be quantified during co-creation with the local MSD team.

What we have tried in the past?

MSD South Africa has never used digital platforms to promote vaccination in the past.