Managing pain

Worldwide participants are welcome to apply

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

Country to be implemented first: IRAQ

Required language: English for physicians as the main target. Content shared with patients must be in Arabic.

The solution interface can be in English


Chronic pain patients suffer from long term pain, in some cases leading to debilitating outcomes affecting their daily life. Those patients can be, for example, a mother suffering from chronic pain so badly that she cannot manage the needs of her children.

In some cases, these patients do not receive optimal support from the physicians that treat them mainly due to:

  • Short duration of visits, that limits the time to explain life style modifications and exercises that patients need to do to improve their pain management.
  • Lack of follow up with patients to see the effect of the treatments.
  • Limited explanations to patients about the (side) effects of the prescribed treatment.
  • Hard to quantify the effect of the prescribed pain treatments.
  • Little time available for medical knowledge update.

In the case of Iraq, physicians speak English but patients only Arabic. Physicians have access to internet and smartphones, which is not the case for most patients.

Among others, physicians follow the recommendations of international professional associations like AAOS ( and EULAR ( ).

Need/opportunity  description

MSD has identified the opportunity to help physicians to better support their patients with pain.

The solution should target physicians, and consider the limitations regarding internet and smart phone access of Iraqi population. Besides, it should be easy to use and engaging, while cost-effective.

Who is impacted?

  • Physicians treating these patients, mainly Orthopaedic surgeons, Rheumatologists and Internists. 
  • Acute and chronic pain patients and their families.

Reasons why this is happening

There are numerous patients with pain due to poor surgery, ageing, trauma, recovery after surgery and chronic pain disease.

What successful outcomes are expected?

  • Number of physicians that take advantage of the solution to better treat their patients with pain.
  • Number of patients that better manage their pain, so that they have a better quality of life.

Preferred relationship model

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

  • Creation/adaptation of the digital solution to the Iraqi market, including regulation, relevant information, etc.
  • Access and networking with scientific societies and/or local professional associations.
  • Support the market rollout leveraging local MSD channels.

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

  • The solution is successfully launched in Iraq.
  • A promotional campaign has been executed leveraging local MSD channels.
  • It is regularly accessed by at least X* Iraqi physicians.

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

What we have tried in the past?

Printed patient education materials showing different exercises.

Face to face interaction with Healthcare Professionals.

Medical education programs.