Many cleft professionals around the UK are united by a common passion to help improve cleft care in lower resourced countries. At CLEFT, we are fortunate to have some of those professionals support the charity as members of our board of trustees, research and international steering committees. Our core values centre around the following principals:

  • to provide multi-disciplinary care - so that children born with cleft lip and palate have safe, comprehensive and inclusive treatment;
  • to educate and train - by investing in and giving value to people, we hope to help provide stronger foundations for future generations;
  • to help build infrastructure - investment in equipment and resources providing kinder and more effective treatment for the patient;
  • to work efficiently - resourceful and careful use of funds means donor money goes even further; and
  • to collaborate with cleft teams - working and empowering local teams to create an enduring and sustainable framework for the future.

The CLEFT ethos is very much at the heart of the work we do but much of our work would not be necessary if every child around the world was able to access good cleft care. Matt Fell, a Plastic Surgery Registrar and CLEFT trustee, and Brian Sommerlad, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Chair of CLEFT, presented at the Craniofacial Society of Great Britain and Ireland (the CFSGBI) annual conference in September 20021. The CFSGBI is a professional body encompassing all the specialties involved in cleft and craniofacial care and the annual meeting is an opportunity for clinicians to share information. The subject of the presentation was Global Cleft Care and Mr Fell and Mr Sommerlad explain what the inequalities in cleft care are around the world, highlight some of the global initiatives and explain where charities such as CLEFT fit in. 

Whilst we already know that COVID-19 has created a backlog of cases of people requiring medical care, this is also certainly true for children born with cleft lip and palate. One paper published this year have reported 25,000 fewer primary cleft surgeries than normal performed in lower and middle income countries in 2020 due to the pandemic ('Impact of COVID-19 on Elective Cleft Surgery in Low and Middle  Income Countries', VanderBurg, Agrawal, Desai, Desalu and Donkor, 2021). Sadly, this figure adds to the estimated 600,000 backlog of untreated cases in those parts of the world. 

CLEFT is also proud to be a member of the Circle of Cleft Professionals, a network of cleft professionals and cleft charity leaders with an interest in promoting comprehensive cleft care in lower and middle income countries. 

How can you help?

By supporting CLEFT, you are enabling us to work with centres where we can really make a difference. Although we are a small charity, we are able to help build multi-disciplinary and sustainable centres, working with local teams so that they are able to lead in the future. Our overheads are low and we are very careful about what we spend donor money on but our income has been impacted by lockdowns and restrictions on fundraising events. If you would like to donate or get involved in fundraising, please click the buttons below.