Mongi Ben Hamida National Institute of neurology

Arab World Awards

Hamdan Award for the Best Medical College/Institute or Centre in the Arab World
2013-2014

The Department of Neurology was founded in 1974 with the establishment of the National Institute of Neurology by the Late Professor Mongi Ben Hamida. The Department of Neurology was the first of its kind in Tunisia. The official inauguration took place on 20 March, 1974 by the President of the Republic of Tunisia; Habib Bourguiba. In May 2012 the National institute of Neurology was renamed Mongi Ben Hamida National Institute of Neurology - Tunis, in recognition of its founder.

In addition to the Department of Neurology, the Institute houses departments for Neuroimaging, Neurosurgery, and Intensive Care.  The Department of Neurology was headed since its inauguration by Professor Mongi Ben Hamida, then by Professor Fayçal Hentati since 1995.

The Department combines research and teaching activities, but more importantly, it plays a major role in the diagnosis and care of patients with neurological disorders. As the first and largest department of neurology in the country, the Department is at the forefront of research and treatment of neurological disorders in Tunisia. It is indeed the most prominent provider of healthcare services in the field of neurology to the Tunisian population.

Due to its superior national stature, the Department attracts a large number of neurological patients from every corner of the country. The department abides strictly by modern guidelines in regards to the management of neurological disorders. Specific disease databases were established to standardize the follow up of patients such as; multiple sclerosis database (more than 3000 patient records), Parkinson disease database (more than 1500 patients with the largest worldwide LRRK2 Parkinson disease cohort) and the neurogenetic database.

Neurogenetics research carried out in the Department’s laboratory allowed the identification of the genes responsible for the many common and specific neurogenetic diseases in the Tunisian population. Moreover, mutational profiles of many Tunisian patients were characterized. Molecular genetic testing of the majority of neurogenetic diseases is currently routinely performed at the Department, permitting proper management and accurate genetic counselling for patients and their family members.

Specific and systematic diagnosis and prevention approaches are offered to families with patients suffering from some common and disabling neurogenetic diseases. These approaches enable patients and their family members to obtain high quality genetic counseling, prenatal diagnosis when needed (for certain types of spinal muscular atrophy and muscular dystrophy) or pre-symptomatic treatment to prevent disease signs in individuals carrying pathological mutations (e.g. ataxia with vitamin E deficiency).  

As Stroke remains a major health problem in Tunisia, and in other Arab countries. The department opened the first stroke unit in Tunisia and introduced modern management of stroke patients, including thrombolysis since 2000. This Stroke Unit remains the sole unit in public hospitals in Tunisia. Furthermore, the Stroke Unit and the emergency department now cover the whole of Tunis.

The unique and extraordinary range of services provided by Mongi Ben Hamida National Institute of Neurology in terms of healthcare provision and medical research has truly earned it the Hamdan Award for College/Institute or Centre in the Arab World for the term 2013 - 2014.

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