I had a lovely evening today with a couple of girlfriends. We went for sushi, my most consistent favourite cuisine and then headed over to the theatre to watch a documentary. Hot Docs is running its Canadian International Film Festival till May 3rd. As part of the festival we watched “Every Last Child” directed by Tom Roberts. It looks at the issue of Pakistan’s unprecedented spike of endemic polio from 2014. Polio was practically eradicated by 2011 but after the Taliban issued a ban on it in 2012 this infectious strain particular to Pakistan accelerated and spread to other countries such as Syria, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Palestine and China. 500,000 Pakistani children are currently at risk and this documentary looks at the measures being taken.
I appreciate the take home of the film which was to show that when it comes to vaccines there is always a group of people who have been influenced to resist due to some ‘sinister political agenda’. Whether it is a small portion of the white upper class suddenly refusing to let their children get the MMR vaccine thinking it will cause Autism, or the under privileged in Pakistan who have been brain washed to think the polio vaccine will cause their daughter’s to have an increased sex drive and make their sons impotent. The documentary doesn’t demonize those who refuse to take the vaccine. It weaves an emotional story and ends on a positive note. Although the fight against the endemic has many more challenges to face, and is more complicated than necessarily shown, at the very least it brings on awareness. Do check it out if you get a chance.