In Zimbabwe, women delivering babies at a hospital were reportedly charged $5 for every scream. In Bangladesh, corrupt building practices were believed to have contributed to the collapse of a garment factory complex that killed more than 1,000 people.
These are some of the ways that corruption affects people around the world, according to a new report from Transparency International. The Berlin-based watchdog's Global Corruption Barometer 2013 makes for sober reading.
More than 1 in 4 people reported paying a bribe when using public services and institutions in the previous 12 months, according to a survey conducted in more than 100 countries.
The figures were highest in the African nations of Liberia and Sierra Leone, where 75% and 84% of those surveyed paid a bribe, respectively, the report says. That is compared with just 1% in Australia, Denmark, Finland and Japan. In the United States, 7% of those surveyed reported paying a bribe.
"Bribe paying levels remain very high worldwide," Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle said in a statement Tuesday. "But people believe they have the power to stop corruption, and the number of those willing to combat the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery is significant."
More than 114,000 people in 107 countries were surveyed between September 2012 and March 2013 for the report.
Nearly 9 out of 10 said they would act against corruption, and two-thirds of those who were asked to pay bribes said they had refused at least once, the report says.
Too often, however, the institutions responsible for fighting corruption are themselves viewed as corrupt, the report says. Police were viewed as the most corrupt institution in 36 of the countries surveyed and the judiciary in 20 countries.
Trumping them all were political parties, which were viewed as the most corrupt institutions in 51 countries, including the United States.