HomeInitativesCOVID19 and the Wellbeing of Older People in the Middle EastCOVID-19, Social Distancing and Lockdown: Implications on Older People in the Middle...

COVID-19, Social Distancing and Lockdown: Implications on Older People in the Middle East & North Africa

In February 2021, Professor Shereen Hussein presented findings from the MENARAH’s research on the implications of COVID-19 restrictions and the wellbeing of older people in the MENA region in a symposium organised by the International Network for the Study of Arab Societies: INASS Dialogues.

Professor Hussein provided an overview of COVID-19 infection levels, highlighting caution in relation to existing data and reporting, and associated national and local infection control measures. The focus of her talk was on the direct and indirect implications of such measures, such as social distancing, lockdown and curfew on older people and their family carers in the MENA region.

Drawing on findings from recent interviews with older people and their carers which were collected early 2021 in Egypt as part of one of MENARAH’s projects. The findings highlight some the adverse effects on older people’s wellbeing, which were largely invisible from the policy and practice debate. These new implications are compounded with lack of existing support mechanisms for older people and their family carers in the region with considerable negative health outcomes, such as deconditioning and potential cognitive deterioration as well as isolation and declined independency.

The early findings, to be published late 2021, calls for the need of raising public and policy awareness of the specific needs of the people at old age and the adverse effect of the pandemic on their physical and psychological wellbeing.

Professor Hussein also introduced the MENARAH network and showcased the network efforts in producing visual materials and utilising social media to encourage physical activities at home during the pandemic that were designed specifically to older people and their informal carers in the MENA region.

Watch a summary of the event on Facebook


Founder and Director
Shereen Husseinis a Health and Social Care Policy professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), United Kingdom.
Shereen Founded the MENARAH Network in 2019, through an initial grant from the Global Challenge Research Fund, UKRI. She is a medical demographer with expertise in ageing, family dynamics, migration and long-term care systems. Shereen regularly collaborates with the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and the World Bank in policy and research focused on ageing in the Middle East and North Africa Region.
Shereen received her undergraduate degree in statistics and a postgraduate degree in computer science at Cairo University. She completed an MSc in medical demography at the London School of Hygiene and a PhD in quantitative demography and population studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom.