Exciting news is on the horizon as Prof. Shereen Hussein, the Director of the MENARAH Network, spearheads the CARE∞TRACK global consortium, focusing on addressing older individuals’ unmet health and care needs. This initiative aligns with a broader mission—to support the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing, and the WHO Global Strategy on Ageing and Health.
CARE∞TRACK’s journey builds upon the solid groundwork laid during an international expert colloquium in 2022-23, which received support from the World Health Organisation Kobe Centre and was led by Emeritus Professor Julie Byles at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
One of CARE∞TRACK’s key aims is to collaborate closely with MENARAH to ensure that the voices and experiences of older people and their informal caregivers in the MENA regions are genuinely heard and represented.
The consortium has brought together an exceptional team from diverse global regions spanning Europe, Africa, South East Asia, Latin America, and Australia. Continuing its commitment to this vital work, the WHO Kobe Centre provides support by serving in a scientific advisory capacity. Additionally, they grant access to the three levels of WHO—global secretariat, regional, and country offices—as needed. This ensures that research remains rigorous and aligned with global health priorities.
CARE∞TRACK’s vision is ambitious—a global interdisciplinary partnership composed of experts from various regions and settings. The mission is to advance the methods for measuring unmet health and social care needs among older people. At the core of this vision is the goal of achieving equity in old age, enhancing access to healthcare, and improving overall well-being in different countries and contexts.
This consortium recognizes the importance of involving diverse stakeholders, including older individuals and policymakers in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Through this inclusivity, CARE∞TRACK aims to create culturally sensitive measures that resonate with older populations’ unique needs and preferences. Furthermore, the goal is to translate this knowledge into policies that inform resource allocation, guide targeted interventions, and promote more person-centred and responsive healthcare systems.
CARE∞TRACK has designed a comprehensive five-angle action plan to achieve these ambitious objectives. This plan links concepts and theoretical models, measurement approaches, knowledge translation, effective engagement with older individuals and informal caregivers, and the development of a new cadre of researchers specializing in the specific issues of unmet health and care needs worldwide.
Understanding the complexity and variability in older people’s experiences is at the heart of CARE∞TRACK’s approach. Factors like cultural context, macro influences, and socioeconomic conditions significantly impact these experiences. By engaging local partners and directly involving older individuals, the partnership aims to create a nuanced understanding of unmet health and care needs. This process will develop sensitive measures supported by anchoring vignettes and contextually relevant indicators. This culturally responsive approach recognizes the importance of respecting people’s values at country-specific levels and addresses supply-side gaps, fostering more nuanced and sustainable policy responses.
For those interested in learning more about the colloquium’s work, you can watch a recent stakeholders’ event that took place on 28th August 2023, shedding further light on the progress and goals of this important initiative.
To stay updated and get involved in CARE∞TRACK activities, be sure to visit their website for more information. This is a unique opportunity to contribute to developing a more inclusive and responsive healthcare system for older individuals worldwide. While the CARE∞TRACK team works tirelessly to secure sufficient funding to implement its goals and action plan, members will continue engaging with national and international stakeholders to ensure this important topic remains on the policy and practice agenda.
Founder and Director
Shereen Hussein is 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.