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Afr Health Sci. 2010 Mar;10(1):31-9.

Antenatal determinants of oro-facial clefts in Southern Nigeria.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Central Hospital, Sapele, Nigeria.



Cleft lip with or without cleft palate, is the most common serious congenital anomaly that affects the orofacial regions. The management and care of the cleft patient constitutes a substantial proportion of the workload of the Nigerian maxillofacial surgeon and allied specialties. Yet, there are no specific programmes targeted at this group. We believe that the findings of this study is capable of identifying useful interventions for designing programs that will lead to a reduction in the burden of orofacial cleft in Nigeria.


It was a transverse cross-sectional study that was undertaken at the Maxillofacial Units of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital and the Central Hospital, Benin City respectively. The prevalence and antenatal determinants of cleft lip and palate were determined.


Cleft lip and palate were often encountered in clinical practice in Benin City with a prevalence of 1.35%. The results showed that orofacial clefts were commoner in females and that the combined unilateral cleft lip and palate was the commonest entity encountered amongst the cases. The following risk factors were associated with the risk of development of cleft lip and palate: Paternal age >40 years, maternal age >35 years, genetic/family history, low socio-economic status, alcohol consumption and indulgence in the intake of herbal medications in pregnancy.


Public health education programmes and advocacy activities geared towards raising awareness of the identified risk factors for the development of cleft lip and or cleft palate would go a long way to obviate the occurrence and reduce the burden.


Antenatal determinants; Prevalence; Southern Nigeria; orofacial clefts

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