What is Cleft?

It affects the poorest of the poor throughout the globe.

Cleft is the word used to describe the most frequent congenital facial disfigurement world-wide: the cleft lip and palate, which according to statistical surveys affects around half a million newborn babies every year.

"These children," says Prof. Sailer, "are cast out of the societies they are born in before they have done anything, often due to desperation or shame, even by their own parents. A simply terrible fate." They cannot eat, speak or smile like other children. Some newborns even have problems breast-feeding. Unlike in healthy children, the oral cavity is not separated from the nasal cavity such that the child can either not swallow or risk choking on the milk.

Prof. Sailer explains: "When I sometimes say that these children are the 'poorest of the poor' I am talking about something which goes far beyond my medical opinion as an experienced surgeon. Suffering from a cleft lip means having no friends, having nobody to play with. It undoubtedly means loneliness unless these children are surgically treated by specialists such as the CCI doctors who can be trained to be specialists.

These children, are cast out of the societies they are born in before they have done anything.
Prof. Sailer

In addition to the cleft lip and palate there are 14 other types of cleft facial disfigurements, the correction of which is even more difficult. After many years of training by Prof. Sailer, these anomalies can also be treated with high levels of skill at CCI centres.