Scientific spiritBMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7322.1163 (Published 17 November 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1163
- Shishir Gokhale, pathologist
- Command Hospital, Lucknow, India
Taking fruits of development to primitive tribal societies is an onerous assignment, one that we tried in the Andaman Islands. The tribal huts, made of timber, straw, and dry leaves, withstand torrential rains and gales for generations. The smoke and soot of the firewood from traditional stone stoves accumulates in these huts over years, leading to red eyes and respiratory ailments. Eliminating the cause was expected to prevent further illness. We installed smokeless stoves with chimneys in a few huts. The recipients coughed less, had less watery eyes, and cooking became a pleasure. Soon most of the villagers took to this new idea. Smug in our philanthropic achievement, we returned to the urban comforts.
Visiting a year later, …