Giving Voice to the Voiceless Using a Low-Cost Device
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. In India, the incidence of cancer is rising, with over 1.3 million new cases reported in 2020.
Among the types of cancer, throat cancer is a significant concern. Imagine being unable to speak or swallow, relying on a pipe attached to your nose just to eat. Now imagine the added stress of not being able to afford the medical treatment you desperately need. This is the harsh reality faced by many throat cancer patients in India.
In some cases, patients may require a voice prosthesis to help them speak and eat properly after their voice box has been removed. While statistics on the number of patients who require voice boxes are not readily available, it is estimated that up to 30% of patients with laryngectomy (removal of the voice box) require a voice prosthesis to restore their speech.
One man, Dr. Vishal Rao, is determined to make a difference and make treatment accessible to all. With over 15 years of experience as an oncologist, he has created an innovative solution to help those in dire need.
Introducing the AUM Voice Prosthesis - a small box that serves as a voice prosthesis for patients who have had their voice box removed. This device not only helps patients speak properly but also eat and swallow with ease.
The best part? The AUM Voice Prosthesis is a low-cost alternative to the expensive imported devices that many patients cannot afford. And while these costly devices need to be replaced every 6 months, the AUM device only costs Rs 50 to replace.
To date, with the help of his organization – Innaumation, Dr V.ishal has provided the voice to 400 people across seven countries.
Going above and beyond
You're a doctor, and you've just come across a patient who needs a voice box. You do everything in your power to help them - reaching out to fellow doctors for favors, contacting pharmacies for discounts, and even raising funds through crowdfunding. It's a difficult and time-consuming process, but you're determined to make a difference.
That's exactly what Bengaluru-based Dr. Vishal Rao did before he created his game-changing device. He went above and beyond for his patients, but he still felt like there had to be a better way.
That's when his friend Shashank Mahes stepped in with a brilliant idea. At first, Dr. Vishal was hesitant. He knew the technical aspects of the device, but he didn't have the industrial expertise to bring his idea to life. However, with Shashank's help, they were able to secure the funds and resources they needed to develop the device. After receiving approvals from scientific and ethical committees, the device was tested on patients and underwent fine-tuning and adjustments.
Today, it's being used in cancer centers across the country and has even won a state innovation award at a conference for oncologists.
How does it work?
The device is made of silicone and is placed at the opening where the windpipe and food pipe are separated. When air is pushed from the lungs, the device vibrates the food pipe, creating noise that is converted into speech with coordination from the brain.
The device weighs 25 grams, is 2.5 centimeters long, and costs only Rs 50 to replace, making it accessible to patients who may not be able to afford more expensive devices.
If you wish to know more, visit their website.