Our partner in India is the Society for Health and Demographic Surveillance (SHDS) which runs the Birbhum Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) site in West Bengal state in western India, near the border with Bangladesh.
The Birbhum HDSS was started in 2008, in order to conduct research on demographic processes, population health, epidemiology, and healthcare. Notably, the fertility transition in this area has occurred without a commensurate decline in the infant mortality rates that is often seen as precondition of the demographic transition in other parts of the world (e.g. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in the Birbhum district was 2.2 and the infant mortality rate was 46 in 2012 as compared to a TFR of 1.88 and an infant mortality rate of 5.8 in the United States).
The area covers 351 villages in four administrative blocks in rural areas of the Birbhum district of West Bengal, India. The HDSS currently follows 54,585 individuals living in 12,557 households. The population is economically underprivileged, socially marginalized and is approximately 65% Hindu and 35% Muslim. For this project we will collaborate with Penn State and the SDHS, working closely with Rajesh Kumar Rai.