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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2013 Jul;17(7):940-6. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.12.0503. Epub 2013 May 3.

Leaving the street and reconstructing lives: impact of DOTS in empowering homeless people in Tokyo, Japan.

Author information

  • 1Office of the Director, Research Institute of Tuberculosis, Japan Anti-tuberculosis Association (RIT/JATA), Tokyo, Japan. kawat_l_513er@yahoo.co.jp



Since 2000, the Public Health Centre (PHC) in Shinjuku, an area of Tokyo with one of the largest homeless populations in Japan, has been implementing PHC-based DOTS treatment for homeless tuberculosis (TB) patients, with much epidemiological success. Anecdotal evidence indicates that homeless patients treated under DOTS have experienced various positive changes. However, this experience has not yet been systematically analysed.


To explore the changes experienced by homeless TB patients, and to discuss the possible role of PHC-based DOTS treatment in effecting these changes.


A qualitative study via in-depth interviews with 18 ex-homeless patients who completed DOTS-based treatment at Shinjuku City PHC. The data were analysed using the interpretive content analysis method.


The various changes experienced by the participants were categorised into five sub-categories of empowerment, including improved mental health and interpersonal relationships. Some of these changes were attributable to the participants undergoing PHC-based DOTS, which, by addressing their various emotional needs, helped to trigger patient empowerment. Based on our findings, a model of empowerment using PHC-based DOTS was constructed.


PHC-based DOTS not only successfully controlled TB, it also empowered homeless patients by addressing their emotional needs. The interpersonal skills of the nurses played a critical role in this process.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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