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What You Need To Know About Cleft Lip and/or Cleft Palate

Although famous and successful in diverse time frames and areas of life, the Venn diagram of existence puts King Tutankhamun, Reverend Robert Malthus and Joaquin Phoenix in the same set. The 18th dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh, the economic theorist famous for the Malthusian theory in 1798 and the latest actor to play the role of Joker (Hello DC fans) all have facial clefts in form of cleft lip and/or palate. 
A cleft is basically a gap or an opening, in this case, one affecting the upper lip or the roof of the mouth (palate).

Who Is Affected?

Cleft lip and/or palate are the most common congenital (or inborn) craniofacial defects second only to club foot amongst all congenital anomalies. Its existence is documented across several races through ancient medical records to recent times. Each year, more than 200,000 children are born with this condition globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in every 500-700 births is one with cleft lip and/or palate. About 19,000 children are born with the condition every year in Africa, 12,000 in West Africa and about 6,000 in Nigeria. 

It is important to note that in this part of the world, actual incidences and prevalence figures are not readily available. This is due to a  lack of proper records, deliveries at diverse locations as well as religious and cultural beliefs. Some beliefs conclude that the condition is an act or a punishment from God or caused by witchcraft;  thus they may not present at a registered facility for proper care.