Cleft is the second most common congenital deformity due to which the facial tissues in the lip and palate of a child do not fuse thus leaving a gap in these regions.
The children born with Cleft lip have an opening in the upper lip that may extend into the nose. Cleft palate is the condition when the child has an opening in the roof of the mouth opening into the nose.
At times some children are born with both these deformities together leading to Cleft lip and Cleft palate. Children born with Cleft lip and Cleft palate face difficulties in eating, speaking, drinking and even breathing at times. They face cruel ridicule and are socially ostracized because of the way they look. This congenital deformity can result in frequent ear infections.
It is estimated that 1 in 700 children in India is born with this Cleft deformity.
A Cleft birth could be a result of malnutrition in mother, heredity and consanguineous marriage.