A Zimbabwe hospital charged women $5 for every scream during childbirth. The Washington Post reports on July 11 that the hospital is on an official list of global corruption. Women were fined under the category of raising a false alarm and had to pay the money in addition to the regular delivery fees.
Zimbabwe is considered to be one of the poorest countries in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund. The exploitation of women by a local hospital has been noticed by Transparency International. Women who give birth at a hospital are routinely charged $5 for every scream. The underemployment rate of 95 percent and average annual income of $150 means delivering a child can cost a mother a significant amount of money. The fines are issued separately from the $50 delivery fee.
Transparency International found that women who are not able to pay the fines are essentially hostages in the hospital, and they cannot leave until family members pay the fees. If they are able to escape without paying, then debt collectors can go after them. Families have reported interest charges and collection fees. This leads many women to give birth at home and completely avoid hospitals. Transparency International contacted the Ministry of Health and deputy prime minister about these violations. The organization reports that the hospital appears to have eliminated the $5 screaming charge.