The third in a series of blogs on MDR-TB in Moldova by photojournalist David Rochkind
The former TB hospital in Balti sits on the outskirts of town, unused and surrounded by overgrown foliage, far from the city’s everyday activities. Local health specialists say that it used to be a very good hospital with a large garden on the grounds where patients and their families could walk and different wings to house patients depending on the severity of their symptoms. The day I visited, there were two drunk locals passed out in the trees in front of the wing that once held the sickest patients.
The hospital has been closed since 1999 when authorities, low on cash after the breakup of the Soviet Union, decided that they could no longer afford such a large hospital and, moreoever, that a city the size of Balti didn’t require one. The hospital is now empty with crumbling and decaying walls. The rooms are vacant, and only cobwebs, broken windows and dangling electrical wires remain; there are old, glass bottles clustered on the floor of a few rooms. It is an eerie experience to walk the halls of the defunct hospital, seeing total decay alongside remnants of a past productive life: beautiful, decorative tiling in the nurses’ offices and large dining halls on every floor with natural light, views of the city and colorful, educational paintings about Tuberculosis on the glass doors. The view becomes even sadder when you consider that this huge, four-story building lies in ruins while the new, smaller TB hospital struggles to keep up with the demand of the region’s current TB patients.
Read the full blog on the Pulitzer Center’s website
See David Rochkind’s article and multi-media piece Moldova: What Happens to MDR-TB Patients.