The DSN Initiative was launched in 2007 under the new strategy of the Rockefeller Foundation. The initiative intends:
 To improve human resources for disease surveillance in developing countries, thus bolstering national capacity to monitor, report, and respond to outbreaks;
 To support regional networks to promote collaboration in disease surveillance and response across countries; and
 To build bridges between regional and global monitoring efforts
The purpose of the DSN evaluation in the Mekong region was twofold:
To inform the work and strategy of the Foundation, its grantees, and the broader field of disease surveillance, based on the experience of DSN investments in the Mekong region. More specifically, the evaluation will inform future directions and strategies for current areas of DSN Initiative work, particularly in Asia, and will highlight potential new areas of work and strategy; and
 To provide accountability to the Rockefeller Foundation's board, staff, and stakeholders for the DSN funds spent in the Mekong region.