Lifestyle & Belief

Outrage of the day: Zimbabwe hospital charged woman $5 per scream during childbirth


A Zimbabwean senator has suggested that women shave their heads, dress shabbily and stop taking baths to reduce the country's HIV infection rate. Here some Zimbabwean women carry cooking utensils to a community gathering in Gutu, a rural area south of Harare.


Jekesai Njikizana

A hospital in Zimbabwe charged a woman $5 every time she screamed during childbirth, according to a new report on global corruption.

In theory, the practice is meant to curb "false alarms," but it's really used to get money from mothers in one of Africa's poorest countries, the Washington Post reported.

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Zimbabwe hospitals also charge a $50 delivery fee. They are impossible fees to pay in a country where the average annual income amounts to about $150 per person, according to the report from Transparency International.

Women who can't pay the fees have previously been detained at the hospital and charged interest.

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As a result, many women in Zimbabwe give birth at home, perhaps explaining the country's sky-high death rate for women during childbirth.

The United Nations estimates that eight Zimbabwean women die every day while giving birth.

Zimbabwe's deputy prime minister called for an investigation into the practice, but only after several tries to speak with the national health ministry, which claimed at one point it lost the letter sent by Transparency International on the matter.