Shut Up or Pay Up?

A hospital in Zimbabwe has a high demand for women: silence.

As if childbirth weren't hard enough, women in Zimbabwe had to try to do it in silence. According to a report by Transparency international, a hospital in the southern African nation was charging women $5 every time they screamed for "raising false alarm." The costs add up in a country where the average annual income is about $150 per person—and women who couldn't afford to pay were allegedly detained and charged interest until they could settle up. The good news: The report triggered an investigation, and Transparency international says that since then they've heard no further complaints from women in the area.

Kayla Webley Adler
Kayla Webley Adler

Kayla Webley Adler is the Deputy Editor of ELLE magazine. She edits cover stories, profiles, and narrative features on politics, culture, crime, and social trends. Previously, she worked as the Features Director at Marie Claire magazine and as a Staff Writer at TIME magazine.