From 8 to 17: Day shift at Bwaila Maternity Hospital - A Photo Essay by Paolo Patruno

November 6, 2011 /Photography NewsRachel Mac Leod is an English midwife who has practiced for nearly 14 years in Spain before moving to Malawi, where she worked since 2008 as a clinical midwife in the labor ward of the Bwaila Hospital, in the capital Lilongwe.

Rachel is not employed by the government but she is the local representative from The Rose Project, an Irish Charity who founded the new Bwaila Maternity.

Because of her capabilities and experience Rachel is a point of reference for all the other midwives, especially the youngest; she is a facilitator not only in the official trainings, but most of all she is a daily trainer, through her actions constantly teaching and motivating the other midwives, ensuring that all women and their babies are getting the highest possible standard of care.

Rachel works with intensity, energy and enthusiasm facing the emergency situations at Bwaila.

Since Rachel was 14 years old her dream was to work in Africa. Arriving in Malawi was the birth of that dream that is still continuing.

Bwaila Maternity Unit. Lilongwe, Malawi. Lilongwe, Malawi. August 2011

Attending the midwives morning meeting. Lilongwe, Malawi. August 2011
Rachel is mentoring the young midwives and nurses working in labour ward. Lilongwe, Malawi. August 2011
Assisting young girl during exams. Lilongwe, Malawi. August 2011
Happiness to succeed in reanimate a newborn. Lilongwe, Malawi. August 2011
First Aid inside labour ward, when main theatre is not available. Lilongwe, Malawi. August 2011
The blackboard is constantly updated on women conditions in labour ward. Lilongwe, Malawi. August 2011
Rachel is reanimating a newborn. Lilongwe, Malawi. August 2011
The woman is bleeding and needs urgently blood transfusion. Lilongwe, Malawi. August 2011
A baby born already dead. Lilongwe, Malawi. August 2011
 Photos and text: Paolo Patruno. All Rights Reserved

About the photographer:  

Paolo Patruno is an Italian humanitarian photographer who creates evocative, compelling images which promote action and change for the sake of the most vulnerable people in the world. Paolo’s social documentary work gives a powerful voice to the people that need support by capturing the real need for the work of NGOs, aid and non-profit organizations in pictures. 

Paolo is working on his personal project about the African Healthcare system. 

His work can be viewd at


  1. anda says

    beautiful human being

    Viva Combs Thorsen says

    Amazing, inspiring work Rachel! Keep it up, stay encouraged! Thank you Paolo, for being an advocate maternal health and human rights through photography and cinematography. thank you for sharing your gift with the world!!


    Paolo Patruno says

    Hi Viva, so glad to see your comment !
    Please email me your email adress to get in contact:

    thanks, Paolo

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