On board a medical train that travels to remote and underserved towns in Siberia.
Once, huge infrastructure projects like the Trans-Siberian Railway, completed at the beginning of the 20th century, helped open up Siberia and bring economic rise to an area of huge land mass and resources. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Siberia’s economic heyday ended.
Today, there is a lack of doctors in the Russian backcountry and a portion of the residents do not have regular access to specialized medical treatment.
The Saint Lukas train is currently one of two government-funded medical trains that travel to remote towns in central and eastern Russia. Equipped with a laboratory for blood tests, sonography, devices for brain wave scans (EEGs) and heart rhythm tests (ECGs), X-ray equipment and dental surgery tools, the train runs on two-week journeys ten times a year. On board, seventeen doctors and their assistants make diagnoses, prescribe medication and give referrals for specialists at hospitals within the region’s capital.
The medical train is named in honour of St. Lukas, a priest and doctor who operated in Krasnoyarsk during the Second World War. The train carried its own church car until December 2018.
Photo copyright: © Emile Ducke
Emile Ducke is a photographer from Munich, currently based in Moscow. His work has been published on The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, D la Repubblica and it appeared on the National Geographic website.
In 2018 he was selected as one of the World Press Photo 6×6 Global Talents. He was also named one of PDN’s 30 emerging photographers to watch and was awarded the n-ost prize for reporting on Eastern Europe in the photography category.