Between October 2020 and March 2021, Professor Shereen Hussein secured QR GCRF funding to continue the success of MENARAH’s Movement is a Blessing series aimed at improving the level of physical activities of older people in the MENA region especially during COVID19 and associated lockdowns and restricted mobility.
Informal carers in Egypt are one of the main groups of large access and use of mobile phones in Egypt, and the use of apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook are widespread. For example, mobile shipments to Egypt were 14.9 million units in 2019 alone, with 72% being smartphones.
The activity aims to capitalise on the use of smartphones and apps to provide a timely and unique platform for information, advice and service dedicated to ensuring the health and wellbeing of older people. Following the success of the first physical exercise videos ‘Movement is a Blessing’, this activity involved the further development and production of five videos focusing a physical training specific to older people at home during quarantine and beyond. We have also conducted in-country interviews of older people, informal and formal carers to understand the impact of COVID19 on the physical and social activities of older people and the potential benefits of the physical exercise videos. We are currently writing up a summary of findings in a blog with general advice on being active at old age, hygiene and healthy eating to be published on the MENARAH website.
As part of this work, in collaboration with Sport Makers, MENARAH Produced five short videos aimed at strength and stretching exercises specific to older people. These were designed following research and medical professionals’ input to ensure the suitability of all exercises presented. In each video, a COVID19 infection control messages were included.
Egypt, similar to many other LMIC, suffers from poor infrastructure and support for older people. The COVID19 pandemic presents an unprecedented situation where older people and those with long term care needs are forced to self-isolate in homes. Utilising social media becomes necessary within such situations to maintain the physical and mental wellbeing of older people.
The immediate benefits are:
1- Raise awareness of the importance of ensuring older people’s wellbeing during these challenging times
2- Provide practical information and support to enhance the physical activities of older people and their informal carers at home (a topic that is usually neglected with some attached stigma)
3- Raise awareness of the potential of technology in care and provide practical examples
1- Enhancing the lives and wellbeing of both older people and their family carers
2- Making use of social media in a dedicated way to the wellbeing of older people
All videos are in Arabic with English subtitles.
Watch Movement is a Blessing series 2: video 1
Watch Movement is a Blessing series 2: video 2
Watch Movement is a Blessing series 2: video 3
Watch Movement is a Blessing series 2: video 4
Watch Movement is a Blessing series 2: video 5
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.