Setting: Delay in tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis increases the infectious pool in the community and the risk of development of resistance of mycobacteria, which results in an increased number of deaths. Objective: To describe patients’ and doctors’ perceptions of diagnostic delay in TB patients in the Arkhangelsk region and to develop a substantive model to better understand the mechanisms of how these delays are linked to each other. Design: A grounded theory approach was used to study the phenomenon of diagnostic delay. Patients with TB diagnostic delay and doctors–phthisiatricians were interviewed. Results: A model named ‘sickness trajectory in health-seeking behaviour among tuberculosis patients’ was developed and included two core categories describing two vicious circles of diagnostic delay in patients with TB: ‘limited awareness of the importance to contact the health system’ and ‘limited resources of the health system’ and the categories: ‘factors influencing health-seeking behaviour’ and ‘factors influencing the health system effectiveness’. Men were more likely to report patient delay, while women were more likely to report health system delay. Conclusions: To involve people in early medical examinations, it is necessary to increase alertness on TB among patients and to improve health systems in the districts.
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