In 1995, the World Health Organization declared the tuberculosis epidemic in Ukraine. Over the past 16 years the situation has greatly worsened. Each day TB takes the lives of 30 people,and about 10 thousand annually.

In December 2010, I went to the Donbass region in Ukraine. I was greatly influenced by what I saw . One of the first patients I had photographed was suffering from gastrointestinal tuberculosis. He was lying naked on a hospital bed and staring at the ceiling. A week later I was with him in the last hours of his life. He could not move or talk, his body was like a skin covered skeleton . He clutched a cross to his chest and prayed. Afterwards I met his wife and she told me how he had walked around the house with a torn stomach and intestines dragging across the floor, because the ambulance had refused to transfer him to the hospital. They had to call for a taxi.

After a while I realized that this happened all over the country and that the epidemic of tuberculosis had become one of the national problems. A lot of prisons amnesty convicts with serious health conditions so as not to increase their mortality figures. Two-thirds of former prisoners are dispersed in the country without any medical supervision. Hospitals are in a terrible state and the phthisiology keeps doctors working who are long overdue to retire. Patients with drug-resistant TB have to use public transport to receive medical supplies and food and those without money just die in their beds. In the midst of current political problems in Ukraine everybody is indifferent to the problem of tuberculosis.

Maxim Dondyuk

Maxim Dondyuk was born in 1983 in Ukraine. Got higher education, specialized in management at the Kharkov State University of Food and Trade. Working as a cook. Since 2006 is engaged in professional photography.