Being parents ourselves, we can only imagine the impact on the lives of children born with cleft lip and palate; it can have a profound affect on these children as they grow and develop. Typically, they will need at least four operations. They may also require ongoing tests, treatment or therapy. It will affect the way they look but also their speech, hearing and dental development. It can leave deep psychological scars.

In the developing world, cleft patients are frequently not operated on until later in life, if at all. As a result, they may be malnourished, and unable to talk well or hear properly. Often, they will be social outcasts.

Through the research projects run by Cleft in the UK, we are helping to identify the likely causes of clefts and to find ways in which to improve the treatment and outcomes for children born with a cleft.

Projects in other countries aim to support local medical teams to provide long-term treatment and care for people less privileged born with clefts. Joe Ambor