Measuring Life Outcome and Human Dignity Impacts of Cleft Surgery Among Children in West Bengal (phase II)

Grants to Support Faculty Fellows' Research
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Kellogg Institute funding has allowed us to complete a preliminary pilot phase of our project which seeks to measure the disadvantages of teenagers faced with cleft lip and pallets in impoverished areas of India, and the impact of cleft palate surgery on a holistic array of life outcomes of teenagers who have been recipients of cleft surgery. In our preliminary phase, we have been able to obtain data from 308 teenagers, including 106 teenagers aged 11 to 19 born with cleft palate. The remainder of these are siblings of cleft teens, we use to generate counterfactuals that approximate measures of life outcomes in the absence of cleft palate in their respective families. We categorize cleft teenagers in terms of the severity of their cleft lip or pallate in terms of the number of surgeries required for restoration to “near normalcy” and statistically measure the impact from subsequent surgeries on different aspects of life outcomes relating to human dignity. This include social inclusion, psychological well-being, physical health, behavior, and learning and education. We include preliminary results from our pilot phase in this grant application. Our human dignity index shows that the average child born with cleft faces a 0.31 standard deviation loss in our Human Dignity Index, approximately 2/3 of which is restored with cleft surgery, although due to small sample size in the pilot study, we cannot as yet estimate this impact with precision. We seek additional funding to move the project from a preliminary pilot phase into an expanded phase in which we are able to achieve a sufficient sample size to identify impacts from cleft palate surgery on our different facets of human dignity and our aggregated human dignity index.