Hundreds of thousands of poor people detained in hospitals

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BENI, Congo (AP) Researchers estimate that hundreds of thousands of people are being illegally detained in hospitals in poor countries worldwide because they cannot afford to pay their bills, according to a new paper published Wednesday by the British think tank Chatham House.

Faide Mwenge in eastern Congo is one of them.

The 20-year-old gave birth three months ago but still owes the hospital $190 before she and her baby will be released.

In the report, experts reviewed nine studies and media accounts from 2003 to 2017 and found nearly 1,000 cases of patients held by hospitals.

The researchers say based on that data, the rate of detentions reported and the size of the countries where the reports originated, there are likely hundreds of thousands of people being held illegally every year.