The INCLEN (International Clinical Epidemiological Network) is a unique international network of healthcare professionals (clinical epidemiologists, biostatisticians, health social scientists and other health professionals) who apply multidisciplinary approaches to identify best practices to improve ‘health for all’ in local, national, regional and global settings. It has established a surveillance site for studying the issues of chronic diseases with focus on childhood obesity near Delhi, in Palwal district of Haryana. Surrounded by three major roads (NH – 2, Palwal – Hathin Major District Road – 135 & Major District Road – 132), this site covers 51 villages, spread over three blocks. By monitoring various aspects of population in a longitudinal fashion, the surveillance activities facilitate understanding of the determinants and causal linkages of various health conditions.

Demographic, Development & Environmental SOMAARTH Surveillance Site (DDESS)


India is witnessing unprecedented economic growth. This economic development in every society is accompanied by environmental and social changes of the individuals, communities and the nation, thus effecting changes in the health of the population. Although the role of the social environment in behavior has long been established, its effect on health is not so well documented. Additionally, the built environment as we experience it today has multifold influence on our behaviors, like consumption of food, engagement in structured or unstructured physical activity, health care seeking, which ultimately affect health through promotion or inhibition for healthy lifestyle. The environment also determines risk of communicable diseases and the severity of infections. Most of the times, health dimension is not considered while designing or modifying the environment. 

There is a need to document these changes and correlate with the health outcomes for better understanding of the immediate environment and its impact on human health. It necessitates comprehensive understanding and the traceable mapping of the possible interplay among the biological, nutritional, psychological, social, physical, and economic parameters that modulate choices made by individuals both cross-sectionally and longitudinally.

So, to determine the interplay between economic environment, agriculture, markets, urbanization, town planning, built environment, education, globalization and socio cultural factors that influences population behavior and its impact on biology , nutrition, physical and psychological health of individuals, families and communities, a Demographic, Development and Environmental Surveillance Site (DDESS) was designed at Palwal district of Haryana. We call it SOMAARTH, a Sanskrit word which literally means “effect of economy on overall health”, emphasizing relationship between economic development, social changes and health of the individuals, families and communities.

Duration: 10.10.2009 – ongoing

Study design: Longitudinal cohort study. 


  • Establish an integrated surveillance system that is simple, feasible, affordable and sustainable, addressing health in the context of development and environment.
  • Establish an Integrated Management Information Systems (IMIS) to facilitate the collection, analysis, reporting, presentation, and use of data at local, district, regional, and national levels for the overall aim of bringing convergence between development and health.
  • Exploring innovative models of Public-Private Partnership for surveillance mechanism and primary health care service delivery.
  • Evolve SOMAARTH in to a platform of multi-disciplinary learning and capacity building for next generation of health and non-health academic leadership.


Work Accomplished

Base line round-completed, Census-completed.


With the help of maps prepared by GIS team and line listing, our investigators cover all physical structures in villages. They collect data on the details about the structure as well as the family, its composition, vital events, environment, status of drinking water and sanitation and health seeking behavior. Overall, it covers a total of 51 villages spread over 3 blocks (Hathin, Palwal & Hodal), with a population of nearly 200,000.

Expected outcomes

At the end of the study, we’ll understand the interplay between economics, development and health and share the same understanding with the community so that they are able to make informed choices about having a healthy lifestyle.