The Decade of Healthy Ageing: Interview with the World Health Organisation to mobilise change in the MENA region

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Population ageing is often a neglected policy dimension in most low- and Middle-Income countries (LMICs) due to competing policy challenges associated with population growth, poverty and youth unemployment. However, the pace of population ageing is so fast that within as little as 20-40 years, some countries will transfer from young to ageing populations. In addition, healthy ageing is identified as an international priority through the UN Decade of Health Ageing (launched in December 2020) as part of the 2030 SDGs. Yet, awareness of these issues and the specific meaning of healthy ageing in the MENA region is minimal. More importantly, the voices of older people and their families are seldom heard.

The Decade of Healthy Ageing provides a useful framework to mobilise change towards ageing better across the globe. The MENA region is at the cusp of change towards older populations with a clear need for consorted actions over the next decade. As part of the MENARAH activities, Professor Hussein talks to Dr Christopher Mitken at the World Health Organisation Head Quarter in Geneva about the pillars of the Decade and how we can work together to improve the lives of older people in the region.

Dr Mikton presents the pillars of the Decade of Healthy ageing and emphasis the important role of the MENARAH network in mobilising this agenda in the Middle East and North Africa Region.

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Professor of Health and Social Care Policy, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

Shereen Hussein is a Professor of Health and Social Care Policy at the Department of Health Services Research and Policy (HSRP) at the LSHTM. She is a Co-Director of the PRUComm policy research unit. She is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Kent and King’s College London in the UK and the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.

Shereen is a demographer with expertise in labour-migration, sociology and economics. Her primary research revolves around ageing, family dynamics, migration and long-term care. Shereen has previously worked with the United Nations, the Population Council, the World Bank, and the League of Arab States. Her current research focuses on ageing demographics, long term care demand and migration within the UK and Europe and the implications on policy and practice.

Shereen has conducted extensive research on population ageing and its impact on long term care and health policy and practices in the UK, internationally and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She has contributed to recent United Nations’ policy response to ageing in the region through collaboration with UN-ESCWA and directly providing expert consultations to several countries in the region including Turkey, Oman and Egypt. Shereen leads many large research projects on ageing and long-term care in the UK and contributes to a large project addressing responses to dementia in developing countries STRiDE. Shereen is the founder and lead of the MENARAH network.