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Channapatna toymakers regain popularity

Raina Paul, DH News Service, Bengaluru, Nov 23 2017, 11:42 IST
The prosthetic plunger made of ivory wood and other supporting instruments.

The prosthetic plunger made of ivory wood and other supporting instruments.

Channapatna toymakers who were once forgotten are now regaining their popularity.

Some toymakers here are busy manufacturing prosthetic plunger - an instrument used to insert artificial voice box into the throat of patients who have lost their voice either because of throat cancer or other diseases.

The instrument, first made around eight months ago under the supervision of Dr Vishal Rao, has gained much popularity across the globe. It is now being shipped to countries like Israel, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar among many others.

Dr Rao, head neck surgical oncologist and robotic surgeon at the Health Care Global (HCG), found help in Kouser, a toymaker from Channapattana, who made a prosthetic plunger with ivory wood.

Dr Rao said he was not sure of how the voice box he invented could be inserted into the throat.

He approached Kouser at Channapattana and showed a prototype of a small instrument that can help insert the voice box into the throat.

"We have been using it for patients in India since December 2016. Many doctors from abroad, after knowing about the device through my ted talks, requested me to send it to them," said Dr Rao.

Dr Rao has been couriering the instrument to various countries as and when he got the requests. With the Central government's help, he is planning to export the instrument in bulk starting in three months. "We have planned the export in two phases. The first export will be to middle and low-income countries where people who cannot afford the instrument will be supplied for free. The second phase is to the developing and developed countries where it will be charged," he said.

Kouser said he and his employees have been making prosthetic plunger for the export. "Two or three toymakers can make one instrument each in half-an-hours' time," he said.

"Nobody approached us earlier for anything like this. But with the instrument, we are slowly gaining popularity. It is good for us also," he
added.

Dr Rao said he was waiting for the paperwork to be completed so that he can start exporting the instrument. Dr Rao has received requests from around 25 countries so far and he with the help of HCG is planning the procedure to ship them abroad.

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