Health by train in the Russian Federation

Travel with those giving and receiving vital health services on board the Saint Lukas medical train in the Kashtan Bogotol region of Siberia.

The Saint Lukas medical train sits on the tracks in the Kashtan Bogotol region, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Siberia. © WHO / NOOR / Yuri Kozyrev

The WHO European Region includes some of the most remote locations on earth. The Saint Lukas medical train provides one solution to reaching such areas. Ten times a year, the train makes two-week journeys, stopping at about eight stations and covering 4000 kilometers of Krasnoyarsk and Khakassia in Siberia.

Vasyli (left) is a 94-year old veteran visiting health care worker Ludmila Mehailovna Danilova for his annual check-up. © WHO / NOOR / Yuri Kozyrev

The Triple Billion targets, outlined in the 13th General Programme of Work, and forming the three priorities of the European Programme of Work, commit to ensuring that more people are protected from health emergencies, more people receive high quality, easily accessible and affordable healthcare services and more people enjoy better health and well-being.

Elesaveta visits ENT specialist Dr Alexander Vstavsky. © WHO / NOOR / Yuri Kozyrev

Leaving no-one behind in health is central to these aims, and the medical train has delivered healthcare directly to people in Siberia for many years — providing a health lifeline to communities. When the train visits a town, it is common to see people start queuing early in the morning to make appointments

Daria and her mother look out over the station’s tracks while waiting to speak with a doctor. © WHO / NOOR / Yuri Kozyrev

The train is well-equipped with modern equipment including an X-ray machine, ultrasound diagnostics, laboratory diagnostics, a dental office, urological and surgical rooms, a telemedicine consulting department and more.

Doctor of functional diagnostics Chernysh Galina Aleksandrovna performs an echocardiogram on Kostenkov Danila. © WHO / NOOR / Yuri Kozyrev

Usually the stations that are visited have at least one doctor or nurse, but locals have the chance to consult several specialists in a single day, with doctors and other healthcare professionals examining up to 120–150 patients on an average day. Consultative examinations and telemedicine consultations are offered for complex cases, with specialists from regional healthcare institutions and federal clinics.

Dr Ludmila Mehailovna Danilova speaks with 94-year old patient Vasili. © WHO / NOOR / Yuri Kozyrev

The medical treatment on the train is free of charge. Specialists make diagnoses and prescribe medication or referrals to seek additional help at the hospitals of the region’s capital. The care offered by the health workers on board the train bring us one step closer to achieving the Triple Billion targets.

The Saint Lukas medical train sits on the tracks in the Kashtan Bogotol region, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Siberia. © WHO / NOOR / Yuri Kozyrev

A version of this photo story was originally published 23 February 2021 by WHO/Europe.

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