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What is cleft palate?

Cleft palate is a congenital condition characterized by an opening or split on the roof of the mouth, known as the palate. There are two kinds of cleft palate: unilateral, when an opening or split occurs on only one side of the mouth, and bilateral when the opening or separation occurs on both sides.

What issues do children with cleft palate face?


Children with cleft palate are more prone to infections, and difficulty eating leads to frequent illness–especially in infants.


Children may be excluded or experience ridicule, leading to embarrassment and isolation.


Cleft palate can cause speech delays which hinder a child’s ability to communicate, preventing them from connecting with others.

How does surgery change a child’s life?

  • A new smile brings confidence and hope
  • Children can eat more effectively, leading to better physical and emotional health
  • Speech improves, restoring confidence as children participate in community life
child with cleft lip, before and after

Miracles happen every day at CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia


Natnael was just six months old when he first came to CURE Ethiopia for surgery to repair his cleft palate–a condition that left him prone to infection, made feeding difficult, and stunted his speech development. His surgery was successful, and CURE continues to provide the follow-up care Natnael needs as he grows.

child with cleft lip
surgery in CURE hospital
mother and child in doctor appointment
child with cleft lip, before and after
child smiling

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CURE Ethiopia provides physical, emotional, and spiritual care to children living with treatable disabilities. Please contact us if you have questions about becoming a patient or a partner with CURE.

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