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India might have reached the Moon but cleft birth defect is still considered a sign of sin
In India, cleft birth defects are as much social and economic issues as they are medical. A majority of cleft births occurs in rural India where poverty, illiteracy and misinformation are rampant and access to medical resources is scarce. Wide spread socio-cultural blind beliefs add to the problem.

The concept of stigma, denoting relations of shame has a long ancestry and has from the earliest time has been associated with deviations from the "normal", including in various times and places, deviations from normative prescription of acceptable state of being from self and other.

The life of a cleft baby starting from its birth is spent in a torturous environment. People start taunting the child as well as the family. It is evident that with various limitations that individuals with cleft lip and palate experience, they are always bound to encounter various psychological difficulties. It is evident that with various limitations that individuals with cleft lip and palate experience, they are always bound to encounter various psychological differences.

When the child grows up and goes to school, he or she is generally labeled as "Hendra","Phata", Phampa" etc. Which makes the child irritated. Children of their age don't mingle with them and slowly and gradually they drop out. The same situation is also witnessed in different social functions where they stay aloof and away from any social gatherings.

Anxiety and depression have also been reported to be twice as prevalent in adults with cleft lips and palates. Difficulties are also experienced in relation to behavioral problems and satisfaction with facial appearance. This can be interrelated with psychological problems like anxiety and depression.

Even if they manage to get some basic education, they can't find jobs, get married or join mainstream society. And in case they do find a life partner, they feel it is the greatest achievement of their life and they forget about their cleft deformities, which can be cured with a small surgery lasting merely 45 minutes.

There are even some cases recorded that after a successful marriage of many years, when a baby is born with cleft deformities, the husband abandons the wife and the new born baby. In some cases it is also found that aged women as old as 65 having cleft, have never come out from their rooms out of fear of being taunted.

The smell of negligence is noised from all around. Even the society don't accept them as normal human beings, which stops them to join the mainstream.

Although "normal" in every other sense, a child born with cleft deformities is condemned to grow up as social out caste and an object of ridicule because of the facial deformity and speech impediment.

The human face is a corridor of emotions, a gate way to verbal and non-verbal communication and a criterion for social acceptance and mate selection. The aesthetics of facial structure are used by humans to measure not only one's beauty but also his or her personality, intelligence, social class, trustworthiness, social skills, popularity and overall "goodness". Parents of the deformed children are even uncomfortable to bring their children in public which leads to the further social and mental distress.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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