Cleft lip and palate are birth defects that occur while a baby is developing in the womb. During the 6th-10th weeks of pregnancy, separate areas of the face fuse to form the roof of the mouth and upper lip. When some of these areas do not join properly, a gap or split (cleft) occurs. While the cause is not known, evidence suggests a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Last year, LEAP performed over 100 cleft lip and/or palate surgical repairs for children living in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Zimbabwe, India, and Belize. Our free surgical services restore their features and empower them to return to their communities as welcomed, participating members.
Pictured: Four-month-old Tanaka, who lives over 300 km outside of Harare, Zimbabwe, before and after his free cleft lip surgery, thanks to LEAP’s 2016 surgical team.