Team approach to management of oro.facial cleft among African practitioners: A survey
Background: An interdisciplinary team approach concept has been proposed for management of oro.facial cleft in the last two decades. Our objective was to evaluate the practice of the team approach concept and practices of the specialists involved in oro.facial cleft care in Africa.
Materials and Methods: A snapshot survey was conducted among the attendees of the 2nd Pan.African Congress on Cleft Lip and Palate, at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria, in February 2007.
Result: Of the 120 questionnaires distributed, 91 were returned for analysis (75.8% response rate). Mean age of respondents was 43.6 } 4.97 years and the range was 36-62 years. Male.to.female ratio was 3.5:1. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons constituted the majority of respondents (34.1% and 29.7% respectively). Only 48.4% (44 respondents) of the specialists belonged to cleft teams. Majority of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons belonged to cleft teams (65.9 and 79.5% respectively), while Speech Pathologists and Orthodontists were less represented (18.2% and 40.9% respectively).
Conclusion: Findings from this study have shown that interdisciplinary care for the cleft patient is not yet fully established in Africa. The result obtained also suggests that cleft care in African population is young, and team care is perhaps many years behind the global trend. This may be a result of several reasons ranging from lack of sufficient specialists
in African population generally to the relatively young age of cleft care practice in that part of the world
Key words: Africa, cleft, interdisciplinary care, lip, palate