Perceptions, attitudes and beliefs of adults in a Nigerian community about cleft lip and palate
Background: Cleft lip and palate in a congenital deformity, with a defect in lip, alveolus or palate.
Objectives: To determine the perceptions, attitudes and beliefs of adults in a Nigerian community about Cleft Lip and Palate (CLP), and to determine the factors that affect the community’s perceptions, attitudes and beliefs.
Methods: A 16 item interviewer-administered questionnaire was distributed to adults in the community. A 5-point likert scale was used to rate attitude to various aspect of CLP
Results: 135 adults participated in the study. Most (77%) of the respondents were aware of CLP. Attempted abortion and smoking by the mother during pregnancy were perceived to cause CLP by 36.3% and 33.3% respectively while an “Act of God” was believed to be the aetiology by 23%. A small percentage (17%) believed it could be punishment from God, ancestors or spirits. Majority (77%) agreed that people with CLP are emotionally disturbed and 69% of the respondents concurred that people with CLP have difficulty making friends or getting married. The respondents showed favourable attitudes toward statements on need for CLP to see the doctor, against making jokes about CLP and hiding a child with CLP at home. Gender, religion, educational status and previous contact did not significantly affect their perceptions, attitudes and beliefs.
Conclusion: The respondents have a poor perception of the aetiology of CLP. Some level of stigmatization exists towards CLP. There is need for sociocultural reorientation about CLP in the population studied.
Keywords: cleft lip and palate, perceptions, attitudes, beliefs