‘At least they have a healthcare infrastructure’ explained Anna, who works for thye World Health Organisation, as we stumbled home after England’s EURO 2012 win over Ukraine.

‘In Indonesia and Thailand’ she said, ‘nobody has ever built one’.

It might be old and outdated, but this is true – Ukraine does have an extensive healthcare system and, at least in Kyiv, those with money can be treated in what Ukrainians would call ‘Western standard’ hospitals.

Sadly, those without money don’t have that luxury. If you are a teacher for instance or a boffin with a bad heart, you might end up in the National Acadamy of Sciences hospital in Podil.

A spooky doctor watches us from a balcony of the NAS hospital in Podil.

Actually, I don’t know if it is in Podil, but it sits on a hill that links Podil to the city centre and I’ve always wondered what the view would be like from the top floor of its tall concrete buildings.

I mentioned this to Monika, a Polish couch-surfer who was staying with me a few weeks ago. We were walking up the hill at the start of my well trodden ‘tour de Kyiv’ and without hesitating she said ‘lets go’.

‘OK’ I said,‘why not’…’
‘but I think they have security’

This wasn’t a problem, because he (the ‘security’) wasn’t securing anything. I’m not even sure if he was alive.

So, we walked straight on in, through the back door and into the lift. It was quite an adventure (if you like weird old buildings like me) and a sobering insight into the realities of Ukraine’s less-than-healthy hospitals.

Here’s what we found…

The rooms, like the patients, are in need of treatment.

The reception service wasn’t too ‘hot’ …but had it been better, we might not have been allowed in.

There are two old lifts. One for the doctors and one for the patients.

The lifts worked (albeit with a loud noise) but the buttons were quite grim. This one had a hole in it.

As you exit the lift, the windows have been painted with images/graphics to indicate where you are. On this floor there was a gym.

…for your heart?


There were people in the hospital, and nobody seemed to mind us being there. Two foreigners with a camera wasn’t a problem.

This is my favourite picture. Two cult-like figures float in a blue forest behind a flower pot. I’m curious why/how they were semi-defaced?

Outside, someone with a sense of humour but very little imagination has been expressing themselves.

…and finally, the view from the top. Yes, it was amazing.

Podil, as seen from the top of the NAS hospital.

The rest of the pictures are available here: