The last two months has seen an enormous amount of change for Work the World... some triggered by us, some by you.
Abby regularly speaks to students that have returned from their Work the World placements and asks them what they loved most about their trip. Almost every time the response is the placements themselves and how well they were organised. That is music to our ears as we have always believed that what makes us the number one provider of healthcare electives is the quality of the placements we arrange and the absolute dedication we have to providing Work the World students with the best options for their electives.
It was this dedication that triggered three major destination decisions. Nepal and Zanzibar were both under scrutiny after a mixture of feedback from students and discussions with our programme managers suggested placements in our destination choices could be bettered. We take feedback about placements very seriously so at the beginning of November Alison headed off to Nepal, and Dave to Zanzibar to find out more. Their mission was to improve the placement programmes.
Alison reviewed our original destination of Bharatpur and although it had much to offer, it was becoming clearer that there was even more on offer in Pokhara. The range of hospitals were greater, there were more specialist departments and plenty of scope for students that wanted to split their placements. Moving an established programme can be problematic, but as far as we are concerned it is worth it if it means the students can get more out of it. Alison started the ball rolling in Pokhara, flying back again in late November to finalise everything and recruit for the most important role - a placement manager. It is absolutely crucial that we get the right person for the job as they need to fully understand what we are about as a company. Alison met Sunil and instantly recognised he would be perfect for the role. He joined the team and between them they have developed an amazing selection of placements and outreach programmes.
Dave meanwhile had to make a difficult decision about Zanzibar. There is only one major hospital on the island which is called Mnazi Mmoja and until this year the hospital has limited the number of placement students that took electives there. Unfortunately more and more people have started to descend on Mnazi Mmoja and on meeting with the hospital director it became clear that from 2010 onwards a number of deals to work with overseas schools had been put in place and they were not willing to restrict numbers. Mnazi Mmoja was going to be packed and when hospitals don't limit numbers, placement students find it harder to get hands on experience and one-on-one time with doctors and nurses.
The problem is that everyone loves Zanzibar! Dave and Baptista, Tanzania's Country Director, put their heads together and realised the perfect solution was right in front of them.... well just across a small stretch of water anyway. The north of Dar es Salaam has beautiful coastline, has easy access to Zanzibar's attractions and allowed us to continue running our exclusive outreach programme in Zanzibar. Most importantly though the biggest city in Tanzania had a huge array of hospitals and clinics and gave us unbelievable placement options with an agreement to limit numbers. Dave and Baptista hired Majenda to run the new programme and as we speak, a new house on the Sea Cliff peninsula is being developed for our students from April onwards.
That just left one thing..... Asia's growing popularity. We've had loads of people interested in India for 2010 so we thought it was time to increase our offering. Roll up, roll up Sri Lanka! Although only a thin bridge separates India's teardrop to the mainland, the country is very different and offers loads of potential for placements. It's also gorgeous - white sand beaches, beautiful highlands, amazing festivals. All in, we are confident we've found another winning destination and Alison is working closely with Dr Jayasinghe in Kandy's Training Hospital to put together a summer programme that delivers a range of placements and a chance to learn more about Sri Lankan healthcare.