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Published May 01, 2012, 09:35 PM

Altru Doctor Treats Patients in Tanzania

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - A local doctor took his talent halfway around the world to a small village in Tanzania and helped some very ill patients.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - A local doctor took his talent halfway around the world to a small village in Tanzania and helped some very ill patients.

In the town of Arusha, some workers make less than $1 a day and when you think about the cost of medicine and treatment, it almost seems unreal.

Luckily, Dr. Rolf Paulson is doing everything he can to help.

"It was just heart-wrenching because basically my first day there they diagnosed a little baby with AIDS which is basically a death sentence, then 20 minutes later we diagnosed her 20-year-old mom with the same thing," Paulson said.

From infants to elderly patients, Dr. Rolf Paulson says he experienced a rollercoaster of emotions while working in Tanzania.

"It was very challenging, but at that time that's something that's fun and exciting and very rewarding," Paulson said.

It put into perspective how lucky people are here in the U.S. for the Altru doctor. Americans don't deal with AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis at the rate that Africa does.

"The diseases come in at a later stage and are awful," Paulson said.

It's equipment like a hand-held heart monitor that Dr. Paulson has sent to Tanzania so doctors there can use up-to-date technology to treat patients.

"Over 100 of them over there and they're being used," Paulson said.

So even when Dr. Paulson isn't there, he still finds ways to help the people in Arusha.

"That's the real gratifying thing too, to be helping in different ways," Paulson said.

Although he had to work with interpreters to communicate with his patient, he still felt idolized.

"The people seemed wonderful, they were grateful, excited and very interested," Paulson said.

Dr. Paulson plans on going back to Tanzania sometime next year.

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