In a string of remote villages scattered across the Siberian taiga, residents wait all year for the arrival of the Saint Lukas medical train. Its dozen carriages, equipped with everything from X-ray and ultrasound machines, to a blood test lab and dental surgery, bring specialized medical care to Russia’s far-flung corners, where the country’s struggling healthcare system does not stretch.
Taking ten two-week-long trips a year, each along a different route, the 17 doctors and nurses of the Saint Lukas train see up to 150 patients a day, or around 15,000 patients per year. Even in the snowy conditions of a Siberian winter, people queue up from the early hours of the morning to secure their appointment with a doctor on the train. It is one of five such trains, funded by the Russian government.
In the tail end of the Saint Lukas, a carriage has been converted into a mobile church in honor of the priest, who worked as a doctor in the Second World War, after whom the train is named.