Bridging the Gap: Addressing Challenges Toward Improvement of Cleft Teamwork in a Tertiary Care Center in North India: A Pilot Study

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Abstract

Aim:

The aim of this study was the initiation of systematic data collection so as to improve the capacity for outcome measurement after cleft repair. Also, a clinical audit was done for evaluation of the process and assessment of outcomes of cleft care.

Design and Setting:

A questionnaire-based survey and outcome assessment was carried out over a 1-year period from March 2008 to February 2009 at the combined outpatient cleft clinic of a tertiary care center in India.

Patients and Participants:

Data collection (basic demographic and environmental information) was done twice a week throughout the year by students from the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, at the outpatient cleft clinic.

Results:

A total of 68 completed cleft lip and palate registry forms, from which all the information was available, were analyzed. There was a skewed sex ratio, with a higher preponderance of boys seeking treatment. Of affected males, 19.1% were between 2 and 5 years of age when they first reported to the cleft clinic. Surprisingly, no bilateral clefts of lip, unilateral cleft lip (right) and unilateral cleft lip and palate (right) were observed in girls. Oral health was poor in 74% of patients; among the dental referrals only 26% could be recruited for orthodontics with a reasonably good prognosis.

Conclusions:

Poverty, illiteracy, and superstitions prevent an average patient from India from receiving multidisciplinary cleft care. This emphasizes the need to create systems that suit the needs of our target patients.

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