Give a little. Change a lot.
Cleft Care Mauritius – “Every Child with Cleft Lip and/or Palate Deserves a Smile.”
CLEFT FACT #1
Every minute, a child with cleft is born in the world. Cleft lip and/or palate occurs in about 1 to 2 per 1000 births in developing countries.
CLEFT FACT #2
The prevalence of cleft lip and/or palate varies according to ancestral origin and socioeconomic status, ranging from 1 in 500 in individuals of Asian origin and 1 in 2500 in those from African origin.
CLEFT FACT #3
Babies born with cleft lip and/or palate can get corrective surgeries as early as 6 months old. Early surgical interventions help to improve their hearing, speech and breathing.
WHAT IS CLEFT?
Fente palatine – Bec de lièvre
It occurs in about 1 to 2 per 1000 births in developing countries.
A cleft is a gap or split in the upper lip or roof of the mouth (palate) which is present from birth. It occurs when certain body parts and structures do not fuse together during the baby’s development in the womb of the mother.
Types Of Cleft
A cleft is a gap or split in the upper lip or roof of the mouth (palate) which is present from birth. It occurs when certain body parts and structures do not fuse together during the baby’s development in the womb of the mother. It is known as a craniofacial condition, that is, it is to do with the skull and face.
Clefts can involve the lip and/or the roof of the mouth, which is made up of both hard and soft palate.
Causes Of Cleft
Usually, the lip and palate fuse together as the baby grows in the womb. However, sometimes this doesn’t happen, and the baby is born with a cleft lip, cleft palate or both.
It is unlikely to be caused by anything the mother or parents have done. However, some factors may play a role. These include:
- Smoking or alcohol consumption during pregnancy
- Obesity during pregnancy
- An older mother
- Lack of folic acid during pregnancy
- Certain medications taken during pregnancy, such as anti-seizure medication or steroid tablets.
Is Cleft Genetic?
In 15% of cases, the cleft occurs as part of a syndrome (a collection of symptoms which include cleft lip and/or palate).
Some syndromes are passed on genetically. The likelihood of passing on a cleft lip and/or palate depends on the syndrome.
Where the cleft is not caused by a syndrome, there is a 2-8% chance that someone with a cleft will pass it onto their child.
If their own parents are affected as well, the probability goes up to 10-20%. Siblings of a person with a cleft have a 1% chance of passing it on to their own children. This may be higher if other family-members are also affected.
Difficulties Experienced By Children With Cleft
Treatments For Cleft Lip And/Or Palate
A cleft lip or palate can be successfully treated with surgery. This is often done in the first few months of life for cleft lip and before eighteen months for cleft palate. Speech therapy and dental care may also be needed. With appropriate treatment, outcomes are good.