About Us

Indian society is in a socio economic and demographic transition. Health problems in India are also undergoing a pattern shift into a more complex and heterogeneous mix of issues rather than the traditional infectious diseases and conditions associated with underdevelopment centric situation. This has also created a situation where a re look into the priorities have become necessary.

This is accompanied by a major shift in the philosophy and sociology of health care and the health systems, with progressive private participation in Medicare, attendant issues such as increasing out of pocket expenditure, access and equity in health care, increasing use of technology - etc emerging as important issues. Rural -urban divide in access and availability of health care had plagued this country for long and still remain one of the primary intriguing issues in health sector planning. The vast majority of Indians live in villages. The rural society is also undergoing significant cultural change accompanying the economic progress that is shearing across the traditional value based, close knit, often taboo tight Indian rural society. All these features have its’ imprint and impact on the health and well being of people of the country. Researching into the emerging rural health problems and its interactions with socio demographic changes as a result of the new economy has become necessary.

The Birbhum Population project (BIRPOP) has been initiated in 2008, organized by the society for health and demographic surveillance (SHDS) – funded by the department of health and family welfare, government of West Bengal , looking forward to provide futuristic reflections of these evolving paradigms. While a baseline demographic and health information is gathered here round the year, more focused research issues are undertaken in project mode and implemented.


Birbhum is one of the 19 districts in West Bengal and is primarily a rural district. In terms of indicators of human development, Birbhum turns out to be one of the backward districts of West Bengal, as it ranked 14 among the 19 districts, according to West Bengal Human Development Report, 2004.. The presence of a significant number of people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Minority community in the district, who are generally more disadvantaged than others, makes it possible to study the prevailing forms of inter-group disparities in society and plan means of alleviating those. Demographically the population of Birbhum is very much similar to the teeming magnitude of Indian Population. Moreover, the district population is also exposed to the culture of research through several health related chronic diseases research undertaken in this district in the recent past. The district is three hours drive / train journey from the state head quarters - Kolkata. In the light of all these features - Birbhum was chosen to be the site for development of the project - BIRPOP (Birbhum Population Project).