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Affordable voice aid for needy

ISP Bangalore Bureau 

Dr. Vishal Rao is the country director – Head Neck Surgical Oncology and Robotic Surgery and the Dean for Centre of Academic Research at HealthCare Global Cancer centre in Bangalore. That is not his sufficient introduction though. He is the man who has given affordable voice aid to thousands of patients in India and abroad and helped lakhs start speaking. 

It is a traumatic experience for stage four throat cancer patients when the larynx or the voice box is removed and they lose their ability to speak. This celebrated Bengaluru oncologist developed the world’s cheapest and possibly the best voice prosthesis which cost only Rs 50. Before Dr. Rao’s invention, patients used expensive imported voice prosthesis which cost between Rs 15,000 and Rs 35,000 which enabled a person to speak again. With Dr. Rao’s invention, none may remain voiceless for the rest of their lives due to unaffordability of the device.

A postgraduate doctor from Glasgow and a Fellow of Royal Society of Medicine, Dr.Vishal Rao is a TEDx speaker and inventor of the Aum Voice Prosthesis, a low cost speaking device for throat cancer patients to find solace with. His innovation has been considered among the 100 global social innovations across the globe and received wide recognition from BBC, Harvard Business Review and Forbes. 

Dr. Rao from Bangalore has more than 18 patents filed for his innovations on medical devices, drugs, techniques and theories. He is a member of the consultative group to Principal Scientific Advisor, Govt of India. He is also Member of Vision Group for Biotechnology, Govt of Karnataka. 

He has been conferred the Honorary FRCS by the Royal College of Surgeons Glasgow recognizing his contributions to medical science and humanity. He is the recipient of the Judy Wilkenfeld award for Global excellence in tobacco control 2017. He has been recipient of several awards – Kempegowda Award – highest civil award conferred by the Bengaluru Corporation, the Varshada Kannadiga Award 2018 (Kannadiga of the Year) for his contributions in Science and Technology. Rotary vocational training award 2016 for inventing the voice prosthesis for his throat cancer patients.

He is presently editor of Journal of precision oncology and has more than 100 national and international publications to his credit, and is a reviewer for 10 international journals. He is an international advisor to World Health Organisation Tobacco Free Initiatives (Bloomberg) partners in collaboration with state and union governments to implement the WHO FCTC- Framework convention for Tobacco Control through the National Tobacco control program. His vision is to make available affordable voice devices for everyone in the world.

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