Zimbabwe’s rampant corruption has penetrated virtually all levels of public services, and it’s gotten so bad that delivering a baby has become unaffordable for most Zimbabwean women. One hospital has reportedly been charging $5 per scream during childbirth for “raising false alarm.” False alarm for what? Birthing a tiny human into the world?
The average annual income of a Zimbabwean is $150, meaning roughly 41 cents per day. A $5 fee for one scream would amount to 12 days of wages, and that’s just the national average. Most Zimbabwean hospitals also charge a $50 delivery fee, which means women could shell over one-third of their yearly income just to give birth in a hospital.
For women who can’t afford the disproportionate hospital fees, the options are grim. In a country where eight women die giving childbirth every day, they can either deliver at home, or if they decide to go to a hospital without cash on hand, they are sometimes detained and charged interest until their families pay the fee.
Transparency International, the NGO that released the report, contacted Zimbabwe’s national health ministry about the outrageous “screaming” fee, and after Zimbabwean officials did what they do best- milling about and not doing anything- the NGO found that the screaming fee hasn’t been reported since. Expecting mothers still have to pay $50 to deliver their children, though, a tax bribe that continues to cripple the impoverished women.