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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions



Today,   numerous  life-saving  vaccines   are   helping   children   have   better   lives.

Immunisations prevent the deaths of 2.5 million children every year (Chan et al. 2011). Although disease preventable vaccines are available, we are lacking systems that can continue to immunise children, especially in hard-to-reach areas.

This study aimed to understand whether new distribution models are leading to effective outcomes and if so, how they were doing it. To answer this question, three different vaccine distribution programmes in the African region (Tunisia, Senegal, and Mozambique) were evaluated. The evaluation questions were developed based on the identification of drivers and barriers that affect the delivery of vaccines, with the objective of providing evidence whether the programmes were decreasing the existent gasps  in  vaccine delivery systems.  Six  building  blocks  developed by  the World Health Organization were used as a framework for the evaluation. Micro and macro recommendations were compiled based on the findings.

The integration of vaccines with other health commodities increased the efficiency of delivery by maximizing the utilization of constraint resources. Changing the vaccine distribution  system  from  a  collection  method  to  dedicated  delivery  allowed  the health workforce to stay in the
service delivery points and increased contact time with patients. Additionally, the use of health
information systems for the delivery of vaccines increased the availability of data and led to more reliable decision-making.

Distribution systems are only part of the puzzle of a system that involves various stakeholders and resources. Although these programmes offer positive solutions to vaccine delivery through supply chain innovations, other areas that affect the process must  be  addressed equally.  Areas  such  as  government  accountability  and cooperation, economic stability for the programmes, and sustainable implementation requirements must be embedded in the systems for programmes to generate
long-lasting impacts in the communities so that all children can be reach.

Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.