the 10th ward

my father at the hospital entrance

The project idea comes from a very personal experience. It is dedicated to organizing alternative funding for the 10th ward, the Palliative Care Unit at the Latvian Oncology Center. My father has died there in October 2011 of pancreatic cancer.

The main focus of the project are the people who are in great need of medical help, but are dying out without receiving it. This is the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis in Latvia. In the next yearʼs budget the health care system gets 3,1% of GDP which is the lowest among all EU countries (even Romania sets it to 5,4%).

This ward is the only specialized palliative care unit in Riga, but it serves the role of a hospice, since there is not a single hospice in Latvia. Every day this unit faces the danger of being closed down: a year ago the hospital was planning to open a plastic surgery department instead. The ward is not big – it has 12 rooms with 1 to 4 beds, but 3 to 4 rooms are always empty. Due to the budget cuts terminally ill people in very acute conditions have to wait in the queue up to 3 weeks to get admitted. Around 25% of them do not survive this long.

doctors on the round

This project aims to document the state of healthcare and social systems in Latvia through personal experiences of patients at the Ward, to share its story, to raise awareness on the importance of having such a unit and to reach out for help in order to improve the current situation.

The gallery

Project’s website

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