For instance, in June, Ahmedabad Civil Hospital - the city’s largest Covid-19 facility - offered only INR 13,400 a month (EUR 155.8) to nurses. This was protested by the All Gujarat Nurses Union and the hospital later provided additional incentives in line with the state guidelines. Southern states too offered a similar pay - INR 23,000 (EUR 267.4) for nurses, INR 21,000 (EUR 244) for pharmacists, and INR 17,000 (EUR 197) for lab technicians, monthly.
The financial situation of India’s public hospitals is dire. Many (all?) are in such a bad shape that many healthcare workers in India, to this date, have not been paid salaries for the past months and continue to suffer social stigma because people fear being infected by them. There is also significant shortage in personal-protective equipment, including masks. As a result, locals were also being hired to work as "helpers", to be trained from scratch and look after Covid-19 patients.
Besides available staff, India also falls short of health infrastructure. In 2017, India had 5.3 beds for 10,000 people, the US had 28.7, Brazil had 20.9 and China had 43.1. The condition remains similar for Critical Care Units beds (the US at 34.7, China at 3.6, India at 2.3 per 100,000 people), ventilators (the US at 160,000, India at 48,000 in total) and other advanced medical equipment and services.
Public health has never been a priority of the State. Current Health Expenditure ("CHE") as percentage of GDP in 2017 was only 3.5% for India, whereas for the US it was 17.1%, Brazil, 9.5% and China, 5.2%. In the past, India’s highest health expenditure was 4.3%, in 2001. India CHE per capita in PPP (against USD) in 2017 (253.3) was comparable to Kyrgyzstan (241.2) and Timor-Leste (263.8) and was lower than several of India’s neighbours. The USA, Switzerland, Norway, Germany, and France stood above 5,000.
Consequently, India is amongst the top 15 nations with highest out-of-pocket expenditure when measured as percentage of CHE ("OOP"), simply because there is no social security system worth that name. Households in India spent 62.4% of India’s CHE directly from their pockets in 2017, although this has come down from +70% a decade ago. France, Germany, the US, Ireland, Norway, UK, and Japan had it below 20%.