An overview of current and previous projects and initiatives of the Middle East and North Africa Research on Healthy Ageing (MENARAH) Network.
The meaning of ageing and healthy longevity is socially and culturally sensitive. To enable designing effective policies and interventions aimed at promoting healthy ageing, it is crucial to understand what it means to be healthy in old age and identify healthy ageing behaviours that are likely to be adopted by individuals, families and the wider communities in the MENA region. MENARAH Network engages with older people, their families and informal carers, national and international relevant organisations and academics to explore the meaning of healthy ageing in the Middle East and North Africa region. The activities provide means to ensure the voice of and meaningful engagement with different groups and individuals. Some of these activities were facilitated by an engagement grant from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2021-2022).
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges to society, particularly to older people and their families in the MENA region. The MENARAH Network has partnered with national, regional and international groups to enhance our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on older people in the Region. COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of older people’s lives, particularly age-friendly environments during pandemic times with considerable physical and social isolation of older people.
Strengthening data, research and innovation is a significant enabler to achieving MENARAH’s aims of enhancing the various aspects of older people’s lives and their informal carers in the Middle East and North Africa Region. MENARAH actively nurture connections across national and international researchers to translate knowledge and mobilise research in the MENA region.
Physical exercise is crucial for all ages, but particularly for older people, to maintain their mobility and perform everyday activities, which are essential for their ability to live independently, enjoy diverse activities and have a fulfilling life experience. Regular physical activities also reduce incidences of falls, which can trigger adverse health consequences. Furthermore, physical activities are linked to improved mood and enhanced levels of wellbeing, with some recent research showing links with cognitive health. The MENARAH Network has developed a series of videos to encourage physical activities for older people, their families, and informal carers. These activities were produced following several consultations with physical therapy practitioners, older people, and their families. The activities are tailored to be done at home with everyday items.
The Middle East and North Africa region is experiencing population ageing at an unprecedented rate. The infrastructure and policy dynamics require development at a relatively fast pace to meet the growing social, health and economic needs of older people and their families. There is considerable knowledge and experience that could be learnt from other countries that have experienced population ageing much earlier. This is particularly the case in countries with similar contexts surrounding the importance of family and intergenerational support as a key component of their formal aged-care models. Through active knowledge mobilisation activities, MENARAH collates important international learning reflecting on the region’s specific context.
Addressing population ageing, while considerably important, is often neglected in the MENA region due to other pressures, including poverty and youth unemployment. MENARAH actively conducts consultative and partnership activities with key stakeholders in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa concerning the population ageing research agenda.
The activities include regional and national workshops and seminars, several engagement events, and communications with international partners. These activities engage a broad range of interested researchers, policymakers and non-governmental organisations, as well as older people and their informal carers.
MENARAH has partnered with different groups and research projects who are interested in relevant topics related to ageing and long-term care in the Middle East and North Africa region. Read more about our partners.