Zimbabwe Hospital Charged Women for Each Scream During Childbirth

Saturday, July 13, 2013
Hospital demonstration in Zimbabwe

Giving birth to a baby in Zimbabwe is enough to make a woman scream, although they don’t dare do so unless they want to be charged for it.


Expecting mothers must pay a mandatory fee of $50 if they want to give birth in a Zimbabwe hospital. But that’s not the only cost they face.


According to Transparency International (TI), a nongovernmental organization, nurses in at least one local hospital made women pay $5 every time they screamed while giving birth.


The penalty was allegedly intended to discourage women from raising false alarms.


Women who didn’t pay the fee or simply couldn’t afford it were forced against their will to remain at the hospital until they paid their debt (which sometimes included accruing interest).


TI also reported that some women were forced to attempt escapes from the hospital, while others were hounded by debt collectors after they thought they had paid what they owed, only to be informed of other fees and charges.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Captive Mothers (Transparency International)

A Hospital in Zimbabwe Charged Women $5 for Each Scream during Childbirth (by Max Fisher, Washington Post)

Policeman Jailed for Using Zimbabwean Dictator’s Toilet (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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