Cleft lip or plate is a major health as well as social problem of Bangladesh.
There are about 300,000 people living in Bangladesh with an untreated cleft lip or plate. Another 4,000 to 5,000 babies are born with this condition each year. Most of the babies born with a cleft condition have difficulty and many suffer from malnutrition.
This contributes towards weakening of the immune system and frequently results in higher infant mortality. Many of these children, as they get older, also suffer from social isolation, severe depression, malnutrition, ear, nose and through infections. Children with untreated cleft rarely attend school because they are ostracized and discouraged by a system that is ill-equipped to handle children with special needs.
There is very little attention given by the Government and NGOs for the management of cleft lip or plate. There are no adequate numbers of trained staff or the facilities for conducting operation of cleft lip or plate in Bangladesh. Beside, the cost of cleft lip or plate is higher than normal surgical operations, which is beyond the capacity of most poor people. As a result, most of these poor cleft patients remain untreated and suffer from physical, mental and social depression.