Orofacial Cleft

Is a group of condition that includes cleft lip ,cleft palate or both (CFP). Cleft lip is a physical split of the two sides of the upper lip and appears as a narrow opening in the skin of upper lip which extends beyond the base of the nose while cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth, can involve the hard palate and or the soft palate.

This is how it occurs.

While a baby develops during pregnancy, body tissue and specific cells from both side of the head  grow toward the centre of the face joining together to make the face.The orofacial cleft is as a result of tissues of the face not joining properly during development.

Children with orofacial cleft might develop some other problems like: Not able to speak clearly, hearing infections and feeding problems.


In most cases the causes are unknown . Although the said risk factors include:

  • Smoking during pregnancy.
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Acne drugs containing accutane.
  • Genetic and environment- There is a probability of clefting  in a newborn if a parent, sibling or relative has had the problem.

Cleft lip, cleft palate or both can be treated through a surgery.

In Kenya,the condition incidences are high in central regions and least in coastal regions.