Home Institution

Occidental College

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

India: Health and Human Rights


Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that range in severity, and may cause serious physical and social challenges to those who are born with them. This project sought to determine the socioeconomic factors that influence the lives of people with cleft lip and or cleft palate in India, and the treatment, or lack thereof, which they receive. Specific focus was given to the rural and mountainous area of Nainital district in Uttarakhand state. This study was carried out with the assistance of the Aarohi organization located in the Satoli village in Nainital district. Interviews with one plastic surgeon who treats cleft, one nurse who works for an NGO-run hospital in rural Nainital, one adult cleft patient, and the guardians of five cleft children were conducted, and socioeconomic indicators were compared with treatment experiences and quality of life. The results of this fieldwork found that a wide range of factors, such as lack of health education and awareness of the cleft repair procedure, as well as the difficulties posed by isolated and hilly terrain and low income levels, had a negative impact on the lives and treatment outcomes of cleft patients in rural Nainital.


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Health Services Research | Inequality and Stratification | Medicine and Health Sciences | Rural Sociology

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