America may be one of the most expensive places to have a baby in the world, but thanks to a hospital in Zimbabwe, it's not the most ridiculous. On top of a delivery fee of $50, one hospital is charging women an additional $5 for every scream during childbirth.
The hospital in question claims that screams create a "false alarm." The real question is, for what exactly? The fact that childbirth is painful isn't news to anyone. And in a country where eight mothers die every day in childbirth, it seems that this sense of "alarm" isn't exactly unwarranted. This fee is causing some serious hardships for Zimbabweans. The people of the poverty-stricken nation can barely afford the standard delivery fee: The average annual income per person is $150, making the delivery fee a third of that number. With this fee already such a heavy burden, these up charges are even more absurd.
However, with nearly 62-percent of Zimbabweans saying they've paid some sort of bribe in the past year, it's clear that corruption runs rampant in this country. For women who can't pay the fee, they're detained at the hospital and charged interest until they can cough up the cash. Thankfully, a member of the UK-based Transparency International has met with the Zimbabwean deputy prime minister — since then, the number of complaints about the charges has dropped off. For the sake of these families — and the right of every woman to scream — we hope it stays that way.