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Charity moves to countryside

Free healthcare charity Médecins du Monde is setting up in rural parts of France this year

MEDICAL charity Médecins du Monde (MDM) is to set up branches in remote rural areas to help with the “medical deserts” problem.

While France is among the countries with the most doctors - with an average 308 per 100,000 people - there are strong regional variations.

This year MDM is looking at setting up in such places as the Auvergne and remote parts of Alsace, said its president, Dr Olivier Bernard. He said this was a new initiative for the charity, and is in response to issues raised by doctors around France.

MDM is campaigning around the country, drawing attention to problems with the health service as the elections approach. It said in a statement: “The French health system, long presented as the best in the world, is ill”.

The charity offers around 40,000 free medical consultations to those in need. It states that among these people “a quarter have sought help too late, two-thirds of children under seven are not up to date with their vaccinations, 68% of pregnant women don’t have access to prenatal care and 85% have no health insurance cover.”

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