Birth is a Dream Project

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country in the world. More than two women die every day in the US from pregnancy-related causes.

And while the vast majority of countries have reduced their maternal mortality ratios, for the past 25 years the rate has increased dramatically in the US.

Preventable maternal mortality is not just a public health issue, it is a human rights crisis.

After more than 3 years documenting the maternal health crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa, I’ve decided to expand my BIRTH IS A DREAM project in the US.

About the project

BIRTH IS A DREAM” is a documentary project which aims to document and raise awareness about maternal health in sub-Saharan Africa.

Every year in Sub-Saharan Africa 200.000 mothers die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
A mother’s death is a human tragedy, affecting families and communities. Her death endangers the lives of a surviving newborn and any other young children; a mother’s death makes it harder for the family to obtain life’s necessities and escape the crush of poverty. A great many of these deaths are preventable, when women have access to quality prevention, diagnostic, and treatment services.

The project is the work of Paolo Patruno, an Italian social/documentary photographer and videomaker.

 I started my project in Malawi, where the words for pregnancy in the local language—’pakati’ and ‘matenda’—translate into ‘between life and death’ and ‘sick’.
That’s where I met an English midwife, Rachel MacLeod, who practiced for nearly 14 years in Spain before moving to Malawi to work as a senior clinical midwife in the labor ward of the Bwaila Hospital, in the capital Lilongwe; she opened my eyes to the maternal health crisis in Africa.

Since 2011 the project has been shot across Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda.
“BIRTH IS A DREAM” is dedicated to all the African mothers.

Visit for more info.


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