Cannes Contenders – Pain Portraits (Baliwag Malasakit Center)


Bulacan is a province north of Manila where agriculture is an important industry and physical work often comes with overcoming pain. In this environment, work disability due to migraines is a serious problem yet not well accepted or understood.


Migraine remained undiagnosed and undertreated in at least 50% of the sufferers, with less than half having even consulted a physician. They had a hard time expressing the severity of their pain to non-sufferers, who often dismissed it as a simple headache.



To improve consultation we needed to not only show sufferers that we understood their pain, but to also give it legitimacy. We used a highly sensorial and descriptive idea: migraine metaphors. We created a series of posters, each conveying a different metaphor, placed in public areas such as transport terminals and in the hospital itself. By using metaphors, sufferers could recognize we understood them; while non-sufferers could get a sense of the agony of the sufferers’ pain in terms they could relate to, thereby reducing stigma.




Since the posters were put up, the hospital has seen a 50% increase in inquiries and consultation regarding migraines resulting in proper diagnosis and treatment.


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