A Hospital That Charges Women For Screaming

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 11 2013 3:39 PM

A Hospital That Charges Women $5 Every Time They Scream During Childbirth

113060335
Newborn babies rest at a maternity ward run by Medecins Sans Frontier (Doctors Without Borders) on April 23, 2011 in the Abobo quarter of Abidjan

File photo by Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images

The Washington Post's Max Fisher flags what I can only hope is the most disturbing anecdote from Transparency International's biennial "Global Corruption Barometer," a report that in general hasn't exactly made anyone feel good about the structures of business and society around the world*:

Corruption is so systemic in Zimbabwe, one of Africa’s poorest countries, that a local hospital charges mothers-to-be $5 every time they scream while giving birth. ... The $5 hospital screaming fee, purportedly a charge for “raising false alarm” but clearly aimed at separating mothers from their money, is no joke. Gross domestic product per capita is only $500 in Zimbabwe; average annual income per person is about $150. Zimbabwean hospitals also charge a $50 delivery fee. This means that, in a country where underemployment is 95 percent and poverty is rife, a mother who screams a few times during delivery might owe half her annual income after giving birth.
Advertisement

You can read the full TI report here. The organization found that roughly a quarter of the global population paid some type of bribe in the past year. The disturbing hospital anecdote aside, the report—which surveyed more than 100,000 people in 100-odd countries—suggests that the police and the court system are the most prone to bribery. Overall, nearly one-third said their interactions with police included paying a bribe.

The country where corruption appears to be the most rampant is Sierra Leone, where 84 percent reported paying a bribe. The least? A four-way tie between Australia, Denmark, Finland and Japan at 1 percent. Seven percent of U.S. respondents said they'd paid a bribe. BBC News has a handy interactive here.

*Correction, Friday, July 12: An earlier version of this post mistakenly described the Global Corruption Barometer as an annual report. It is biennial.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.