We meet Hicham Mansour, an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics with a special interest in pediatric neurology, based in Beirut.

Affiliation: Balamand University - Saint George University of Beirut
Position: Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

What education and training did you have to arrive at your current position?

After Pediatric residency I have had a training in pediatric neurology, inborn errors of metabolism and neuromuscular diseases at the “Hopital Timone enfants” Neurometabolic and neuromuscular diseases referral center in Marseille.

What led you to follow a career in the field of neuromuscular disorders in particular?

Since my teen years I was active in societies for disabled children and adults, and I used to volunteer regularly in summer camps for disabled children with mainly neuromuscular disorders, long before my medical sstudies

What is your current research/clinical interst in neuromuscular disorders?

Mainly metabolic myopathies, dystrophies and SMA

What type of patients do you see in clinic?

Myopathic children, children with neurometabolic disorders, cerebral palsy children, epilepsy and neurocognitive delay children

What are the regional challenges from the point of view of local doctors in the field of neuromuscular disorders?

The main challenge would be raising the awareness regarding the neuromuscular disorders, in order to empower patients and create patients associations specially that our governments are not prone to provide the necessary funding for either research or orphan drugs support.

How does your work help patients in this region?

Since 12 years I have been volunteering in the 3 leading associations for handicapped patients in Lebanon, in each association the neuromuscular patients have a special follow up, we were able to get the treatment for Duchenne patients and Pompe disease patients completely covered by the MOH, and currently we are conducting an active study on SMA patients which providing the therapy for affected children. 

What do you love most about working as a neuromuscular expert?

There is always a riddle and a treasure hidden behind every weak muscle waiting to be discovered.

What inspires you to continue working?

The strong will and the persisting hope that my patients have.

What is one unique fact about you that many other people do not know?

Very few of my friends in the medical community know that I write Arabic poetry and literature, and that I have participated to multiple art exhibitions when I started medical school.

How do you see networking as a way to empower experts in your field?

Even though we live in 20 different countries, our peoples share the same genetic pool and having an experts’ network will for sure clear the hidden strings connecting our patients’ diseases. Exchanging knowledge between us regional experts will help explore and understand more the neuromuscular diseases in our uncharted area. 

What can help collaboration in your region?

The web should start by creating national registries and then creating a collective database of the multiple countries that should be regularly analyzed in order to provide clear recommendations for the ministries of health in every country, either for the diagnostic approach or the management guidelines.

Do you recommend any young neuromuscular experts in North Africa or the Eastern Mediterranean region?

In Lebanon I can recommad Pr Andre Megarbane, Pr Mamdoha Barmada, Dr Riad Khoury as active researchers in neuromuscular diseases  

Published on 5 August 2022.

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This article is presented by the Education & Development Opportunities Committee.

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