Orofacial clefts in low- and middle-income countries: A scoping review of quality and quantity of research based on literature between 2010-2019

Orthod Craniofac Res. 2021 Aug;24(3):421-429. doi: 10.1111/ocr.12458. Epub 2020 Dec 26.


This paper assesses the research literature on OFC in LMIC over the last decade across various geographical settings and project focus of the indexed literature. A scoping review of the indexed literature was performed using a set of predefined keywords. The articles were filtered by a ten-year time frame (2010-2019) and a strict inclusive-exclusive criterion. Two authors screened the titles/abstracts/full text of the final included papers and input the desired data (year of publication, type of publication, geographical country/region and project focus to a coded spreadsheet). Six hundred and twenty publications were inventoried from the indexed literature on OFC in LMIC settings over the 10-year period. Five hundred and eighty-three derived from single LMIC countries and 37 from multi-settings. More than half of the articles were reported from Asia (57%), then from Americas (22.8%), Africa (15.4%) and the rest from cross-regional, Europe and Oceania (4.9%). The top 3 LMIC contributors towards OFC publications were China (21.5%), Brazil (13.1%) and India (11.6%). The most discussed OFC project themes were prevalence, surgical repair, aetiology and genetics. This study helps OFC researchers, humanitarian missions and research grant funders to identify gaps in the literature on issues impacting on children and adults born with OFC, in which issues were subjected to research and which were less explored in which LMIC regions. In addition, this study offers recommendations for established OFC researchers and international research bodies to identify areas of deficiency in the literature and what information is required to support LMIC governments achieve SDGs by 2030.

Keywords: cleft lip; cleft palate; low- and middle-income countries; orofacial cleft; scoping review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brazil
  • Child
  • China
  • Cleft Lip* / epidemiology
  • Cleft Palate* / epidemiology
  • Developing Countries
  • Humans