International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) Chapter Spotlight: Middle East North Africa (MENA) Chapter

| June 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

This column is dedicated to providing updates on the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) chapters.

by Abdelrahman A. Nimeri, MBBCh, FACS, FASMBS

President of the IFSO Middle East North Africa Chapter 2017–2019; President Pan Arab Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery 2017–2018; Director, Bariatric & Metabolic Institute Abu Dhabi. Chief, General, Vascular Surgery, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Funding: No funding was provided for this article.

Disclosures: The author is the president of the MENA Chapter of IFSO.

Bariatric Times. 2018;15(6):20–22.

MENA Executive Council

  • President 2017–2019: Abdelrahman Nimeri (United Arab Emirates)
  • President elect 2019–2021: Khalid Mirza (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
  • Treasurer: Hayssam Fawal (Lebanon)
  • Member at large: Khaled Gawdat (Egypt)
  • IFSO world congress president: Ali Khammas (United Arab Emirates) until September 2018
  • IFSO MENAC congress president 2019: Salman Al Sabah (Kuwait)

MENA General Council

  • All executive council members
  • Lebanon: Bassem Safadi (voting), George Elhajj
  • Egypt: Alaa Abbass (voting), Osama Taha
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA): Aayed Al Qahtani (voting), Waleed Bukhari
  • Jordan: Sami Salim (voting), Ahmad Bashir
  • Kuwait: Mohamed Al Jarrallah (voting), Salman Al Sabah
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE): Essa Al Mualimi (voting), Abdelwahid Al Wahidi


The International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders Middle East North Africa chapter (IFSO MENAC) is the youngest chapter of IFSO and was established in December 2017. The formation of the IFSO MENAC was the product of joining two important MENA regional societies—the Gulf Obesity Surgery Society (GOSS),1–3 established in 2013 and led by Mohamed Al Jarrallah as president, and the Pan Arab Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (PASMBS),4 established in 2015 and led by Abdelrahman Nimeri as president. However, IFSO MENAC would not have come together without the vision of the IFSO leadership, led by Professors Kelvin Higa (IFSO Past President) and Jacques Himpens (IFSO President) and many other key members in the IFSO executive board and board of trustees. IFSO MENAC is proud to be the youngest child in the IFSO family. The members, as well as the general and executive councils of the IFSO MENAC, look forward to helping their chapter actively contribute to the mission and vision of IFSO. 

Structure, Location, and Composition of IFSO MENAC General and Executive Councils

IFSO MENAC ( is located in Lebanon, and aligns itself with IFSO through the chapter’s official secretariats are Stefanie D’Arco and Manuela Mazzarella. The executive and general councils were elected December 8, 2017, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at the first IFSO MENAC general council meeting. The IFSO MENA chapter comprises six committees: 1) communication, 2) scientific and research, 3) education and training, 4) membership, 5) integrated health, and 6) registry, guidelines, and medicolegal.

Members of the IFSO MENAC Committees 2017–2019

The Communication Committee

  • Chair: Ahmad Bashir
  • Chair-elect: Ali Al-Montashery
  • Members (2017–2019): Hazem Almomani, Tamer Abdelbaki, Abdullah Mousa, Mohamad Jamal, Essam Batayah, Mu’ayyad Abbas, Hasan Hussein, and Mahmoud Basho

The Scientific and Research Committee

  • Chair: Bassem Safadi
  • Chair-elect: Ashraf Hadad
  • Members (2017–2019): Mahmoud Abdel-Al, Emad Abdallah, Mohammed Alnaami, Ossama Damra, Hussein Faour, Sulaiman Al Mazeedi, Matthew Kroh, and Rodrigue Chemali 

The Education and Training Committee

  • Chair: Aayed Alqahtani
  • Chair-elect: Osama Taha
  • Members (2017–2019): Mohammed Hytham Alfawal, Faheem Basuini, Abdelrahman Nimeri, Salman Al Sabah, Firas Obaidat, and Sultan Altemyat

The Membership Committee

  • Chair: Mousa Khoursheed
  • Chair-elect: Mohammed Al Hadad
  • Members (2017–2019): Falih Mohsen, Khaled Hamdan, Khalil Zayadin, Tahir Yunus, Mohga Elsheikh, Emad
  • Abdallah, and Mohamed Abouzied

The Integrated Health Committee

  • Chair: Nadia Ahmad
  • Chair-elect: Nasreen Al Faris
  • Members (2017–19): to be announced.
  • The Registry, Guidelines, and Medicolegal Committee
  • Chair: Salman Al Sabah
  • Chair-elect: George El Haj
  • Members (2017–19): Saud Al Subaie, Asmaa Al Rashed, and Abdulmalek Altaf

Young IFSO MENAC Committee

  • Chair: Mohamed Abouzeid (Egypt) 
  • Co-Chair: Rodrigue Chemaly (Lebanon)

Activities of the IFSO MENAC Communication Committee in 2018

IFSO MENAC monthly webinars started in December 2017. Here are the topics of our webinars thus far: 

  • The first IFSO MENAC webinar took place on December 14, 2017, titled “The story of the heaviest man in the world,” led by Aayed Al Qahtani, KSA President Elect of the Pan Arab Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (PASMBS).5
  • The second webinar took place February 8, 2018, titled “Difficult cases in bariatric surgery.” The speakers were Ashraf Hadad, Hayssam Fawal, and Mohammad Hadad. The expert panel included Jacques Himpens, Kelvin Higa, and Abdelrahman Nimeri. The real-time fact checker was Hazem Al Momani, and the moderator was Ahmad Bashir (Chair of IFSO MENAC Communication Committee).
  • The third webinar took place April 20, 2018, titled “Sleeve Gastrectomy and GERD: Debate between Raul Rosenthal (Past president of ASMBS) and Abdelrahman Nimeri.” The real-time fact checker was Hazem Al Momani, and the moderator was Ahmad Bashir.
  • The fourth IFSO MENAC webinar took place May 24th, 2018 titled “Difficult bariatric surgery cases.” The moderator was Ahmad Bashir. The real- time fact checker was Hazm Al Momeni. Presenters included Ali Al Montasheri (KSA), Hassan Hussein Jordan, Matthew Kroh (UAE). The discussant was Aayed Qahtani (KSA), Almino Ramos (Brazil), and Luigi Angrisani (Italy)
  • The first IFSO MENAC Facebook Journal Club was March 8, 2018, titled “Sleeve gastrectomy and the value of staple line suture inversion and distal fixation to the transverse colon.” The speaker was Emad Aballah, and the moderator was Bassem Safadi (Chair of the IFSO MENAC Scientific Committee).
  • The first IFSO MENAC Facebook case discussion series (difficult bariatric surgery cases) was titled “Performated OAGB marginal ulcer.” The speaker was Ashraf Haddad.
  • The second Facebook case discussion series was titled “Sleeve gastrectomy with large hiatal hernia.” The speaker was Hayssam Fawal.
  • The third Facebook case discussion series was titled “Unexpected findings during bariatric surgery.” The speaker was Mohammad Hadad.

IFSO MENAC on social media

  • IFSO MENAC Telegram group (222 members). This is a closed professional social networking group to discuss complex cases and receive updates about important events in the IFSO calendar.6
  • IFSO MENAC Facebook Group (746 members). This is a closed professional social networking group to discuss complex cases and receive updates about important events in the IFSO calendar group.7
  • IFSO MENAC on Twitter (265 followers). Follow us @IFSOMENAC and join our monthly IFSO MENAC Twitter chats with the hashtag #obsmMENA
  • The first #obsmMENA chat, titled “The prejudice against obesity,” took place January 19, 2018.
  • The second #obsmMENA chat, titled “Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and bariatric surgery,” took place February 23, 2018. 
  • The third #obsmMENA chat, titled “Hypoglycemia after bariatric surgery,” took place May 18, 2018.

Activities of the IFSO MENAC Scientific Committee

The committee focuses on the perioperative practice of bariatric surgery in the Middle East.9 IFSO MENAC is proud to host the IFSO World Congress for the first time in the MENA region. IFSO 2018 World Congress will take place September 26 to 29, 2018 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).10

IFSO MENAC Future Plans

  • Continue to communicate well, stay connected with member countries, and increase the number of IFSO MENAC member countries
  • Establish an IFSO MENAC registry
  • Standardize the wide variation in the perioperative care of bariatric surgery in the Middle East
  • Establish a regional MENA bariatric and metabolic surgery guidelines
  • Research: multi-center retrospective, and prospective studies
  • Fellowship training programs in MENA region.
  • Increase membership of MENA countries.
  • Engage our obesity medicine specialists and allied health
  • Collaborate with other IFSO chapters.
  • Leverage social media to advance mission/vision of IFSO


  9. Nimeri A, Al Hadad M, Khoursheed M, et al. The perioperative bariatric surgery care in the Middle East region. Obes Surg. 2017 Jun;27(6):1543–1547.


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Category: IFSO Chapter Spotlight, Past Articles

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