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Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption, recently reveled that a local hospital in Zimbabwe was making women pay the equivalent of $5 USD for every time that they screamed during labor and birth. The charge? A penalty for “raising false alarms.” The issue, beyond being terribly unethical and bizarre is that for the majority of these women, $5 per scream can add up fast — to an entire year’s salary in fact. TI Zimbabwe also learned that women who refused or were unable to pay the $5 fees as they added up were allegedly detained at the hospital and charged interest until they could fork over the cash. Apparently, some women called family members to rescue them from the hospital and others reported being hassled by debt collectors demanding they pay the hospital fees and ‘collection charges.’ TI Zimbabwe did contact the Ministry of Health but got no response, so then TI lawyers contacted the Deputy Prime Minister, who after meeting with TI Zimbabwe, called on the Minister of Health to not only investigate the charges but to examine how maternal health issues reflect on the national health system as a whole. According to TI Zimbabwe, no further complaints from women in the area have been issued, but if horrid actions like this do arise again, we hope Transparency International continues to shed light on and eradicate corruption.

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