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Patient Prisoner

In many parts of Africa, patients who cannot pay their bills are detained in the hospital until the account is settled. This situation applies to both the living and the dead:  hospitals won't release the bodies of loved ones until all medical bills incurred before death are paid. There is a health insurance system in Nigeria, but it is only available to the wealthy or upper class.

The burden of payment usually rests on the patient's family — who may have to sell property or valuables. In addition to debt, patients often leave the hospital with shame and anxiety that lead to mental health issues. The powerless poor are most affected.

Meet Patient Prisoners

All of the photos are of those helped by AIHWA's Patient Prisoner program. Click on the photo to read their story.

You Can Help

AIHWA needs donations for the Patient Prisoner program. 

This program is seen as nearly a miracle by community leaders and advocates for the poor.


Mike and Jennifer Candelaria, AIHWA donors and supporters of patient prisoner program, were honored with the highest chieftain titles in Igbo land (Eastern Nigeria).

You might not become a chieftain, but your generous donation will certainly make an enormous difference in someone's life. 

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