Parwez Salman Chowdhury
Fellow Since 1994
This profile was prepared when Parwez Salman Chowdhury was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1994.
The New Idea
Parwez Salman Choudhury and his associates established a series of treatment center that focuses on the consequences of poverty, inadequate education and social discrimination in the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). The mission of the center is to provide treatment, conduct research, and raise public awareness of STDs, AIDS and skin diseases. Dr. Choudhury's project has the potential to bring about change across all levels of Bangladeshi society because it is sensitive to the cultural issues surrounding the subject of sexually transmitted diseases in Bangladesh. Rather than create health centers based upon established western models, the organization attempts to work within the cultural strictures of Bangladeshi society. It is also unique in providing specialized skin and STD care at a rate that is accessible to the poor by offering consultations for a subsidized fee of Taka 10 (0.25 US$), compared to an average rate of Taka 300-500 (US$8-13) charged by other Bangladeshi clinics and hospitals. In addition to treating and educating individuals, Dr. Choudhury has launched a far-reaching public awareness campaign to bring about widespread changes in the way Bangladeshis associate behaviors and lifestyles with the spread of STDs. As a physician, he observed that the greatest impediment to eradicating STDs in impoverished communities is misinformation and the lack of dialogue. In order to bring his message to a population with a 35 percent functional literacy rate, Dr. Choudhury has pioneered visual and verbal ways to educate the public such as video films, dramas and songs.