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A hospital-based retrospective study on the prevalence and pattern of cleft lip, cleft palate, and combined cleft lip and palate in Zimbabwe, January 1981 through December 1999

Midion M. Chidzonga
Leonard Mahomva
Simbarashe Rusakaniko


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Background: Nonsyndromic cleft lip (CL), cleft lip and palate (CLP), and isolated cleft palate (CP) are the most common congenital anomalies of the orofacial region. The scarcity of data on the epidemiology of CL, CLP, and CP in Zimbabwe are limited to allow for development of policies on management and public education on these conditions. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, pattern, regional distribution, hospital stay after surgery, age at time of treatment and complications in Zimbabwe of patients with CL, CLP, CP and compare with similar results in the literature.

Methods: A retrospective study of 405 patients with CL, CLP and CP treated in two tertiary hospitals in Harare, Zimbabwe. Data was retrieved from hospital records of the patients and analysed using STATA 8.4.

Results: There were 49.8% males and 50.3% females. Most patients came from the Harare province (33.7%).CL was the most common anomaly (56%) with male preponderance (60.8%); CP was the second most common anomaly (40.8%), with female preponderance (45.8%); CLP was least common (3.3%) ,affecting 3.5% males and 3.3% females. Average age at the time of treatment for children was 9 months for CL, 12 months for CLP and 24 months for CP and in adults the average age was 21 years for CL, 33 years for CLP and 24 years for CP ; age range for patients who presented for surgery was 1 month to 60 years ; average hospital stay was 8.2 days ; complications recorded were infection (2.5%) and wound dehiscence (4%).

Conclusions: The study showed prevalence, gender distribution, pattern of clefts, and different pattern of distribution of the clefts within the country and complications rate similar to reports in the literature. However, there was a rather high CL prevalence, longer hospital stay and higher age at the time of treatment for both children and adults.

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eISSN: 2073-9990
print ISSN: 1024-297X