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Ann Maxillofac Surg. 2012 Jul;2(2):163-9. doi: 10.4103/2231-0746.101346.

Prevention of oro-facial clefts in developing world.

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  • 1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.


Oro-facial cleft (OFC) remains a prominent health issue in developed and developing countries alike. It is the commonest craniofacial birth defect in humans. Mounting evidence suggest a polygenic, multifactorial and a list of epigenetic events. Primary prevention of OFC is based on recognition of the etiologic and risk factors. While a number of preventive strategies are in place for OFC in most developed countries of the world, the majority of developing countries are distant from achieving this goal for a number of reasons. Notable among these are a huge knowledge and practice gap in the field of genetics and dearth of accurate data. In addition, improper coordination and absenteeism from antenatal care contributed greatly to this set back. With ongoing efforts aimed at determining the genetics of nonsyndromic OFC in developing countries, researches directed at identifying environmental factors should equally be in place. Pending the outcome of these, implicated environmental and attitudinal risk factors in other populations could serve as preventive template in health education and interventions. Since risk factors vary between populations, definitive and effective preventive strategies and models would vary from place to place and from time to time. Frantic effort directed at identifying specific implicated risk factors in developing countries should include developing and keeping comprehensive national perinatal database and centralization of antenatal care protocol. Additionally, active health education at every level and a focus on developing manpower in the field of genetics should be in place. These would be designed and tailored toward identified, proven, and emerging risk factors.


Oro facial cleft; developing world; limited resource setting; prevention

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