Zimbabwe Hospital Charges New Moms by the Scream

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Photo: Scott Handcock/Corbis

Earlier this month, the New York Times explained how a pay-by-procedure business model for childbirth was driving up medical bills for new parents in America. It was pretty sobering, until anti-corruption NGO Transparency International explained how it works in Zimbabwe. There — in a system oddly reminiscent of Scientology's silent birth program — one hospital charges women in labor $5 every time they scream, the Washington Post reports, for "raising false alarm." The figure is even more outrageous considering the average annual income in Zimbabwe is $150, and there's a $50 delivery fee. The hospital does not charge the newborns for shrieking upon entry to this world because their alarm is totally justified.