Developing Countries Project: Initiative for Improving Pain Education—2019 Recipients Mid-Project Update

Dec 19, 2019

This project provide grants for programs working to improve pain education and practice in developing countries.

The 2019 recipients are hard at work on their initiatives and some updates  

Dr. April Gamble, Wchan Organization for Victims of Human Rights Violations, hosted a training workshop on capacity building in pain science for physiotherapists working with vulnerable populations in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq in November and December 2019. As a result of the training, English, Kurdish Sorani, and Arabic versions of the pain science curriculum and training manual are now available with the goal of free public download available in 2020.  The curriculum is also being integrated into the physiotherapy program at Erbil Polytechnic University.

This training focused on shifting from the biomedical model to the biopsychosocial model and participants were able to see the power of this approach and have committed to changing their treatment methods. In addition, the participants were given the skills to conduct a biopsychosocial assessment of pain with the use of a culturally and contextually appropriate documentation form. Picture below are some of the training participants.

In Nigeria, the OPUS (Online pain module for Nigerian medical undergraduate students) project has seven potential study sites where students will enroll in an 8-week online learning module about pain management.

In Pakistan, two Basic Certificate Courses on “Objective Pain Assessment in Intensive Care Patients” have been conducted for physicians and nursing staff working in intensive care units across the Sindh province. This initiative is led by Dr. Ali Sarfraz Siddiqui of Aga Khan University.

In South Africa, Annemarie Oberholzer, JellyBeanz, produced the book How to Become a P.I: Pain Investigator into Childhood Pain which available for free download and has been distributed amongst students and staff during workshops and at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. She has also conducted workshops on the topic which have reached over 200 people so far.


In Brazil, preparations are underway for a distance learning program for healthcare professional on treatment of patients with low back pain.

In Uganda, the team from the Palliative Care Education and Research Consortium (PcERC) developed a steering committee to guide the training sessions on improving pain management in pediatric palliative care. To date, three workshops have been conducted for pharmacists and nurses. As a result of the workshops, participants showed improvements in knowledge and self-confidence levels in pain assessment and morphine use.

To learn more about the IASP Developing Countries Project: Initiative for Improving Pain Education, including information on the application process, visit the grant page.