Every Last Child

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Every Last Child Movie Poster Image
Intense look at health workers tackling polio in Pakistan.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 88 minutes

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age 15+
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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A tribute to the power of health workers committed to helping the greater good -- and how they're risking their lives in order to help eradicate polio.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The WHO Polio team is full of brave workers who risked their lives to vaccinate the children of Pakistan. Despite the targeted murders of their colleagues, the vaccinators continued on their quest to help eradicate the disease from their country.


Footage of shootings, a dead body, bloodstained concrete, and bullet-filled doors due to violence against health workers. Also footage of dozens of armed security/police officers trying to guard the workers. Recollections from journalists, employees, and family members of the shootings that killed the health workers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Every Last Child is a documentary focusing on the polio epidemic in Pakistan, particularly after the Taliban placed a ban on vaccinations. The film most of which is subtitled, features some tough-to-watch news footage of violence against the vaccinators (including shootings, a dead body, bloodstained concrete, and bullet-filled doors) and recollections of murders targeting World Health Organization workers. Despite the intense content, younger teens and older middle schoolers should be able to handle the mature themes and discuss the importance of global heath issues and how they affect the world.

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What's the story?

EVERY LAST CHILD is a documentary that follow the polio crisis in Pakistan, detailing how a once-eradicated virus has become a full-blown public health emergency due to lack of access to vaccinations. The crisis has deepened since 2012, when the Taliban banned the vaccines out of a belief that they're actually a way for Western countries to control the population that will leave children impotent -- or even cause the disease. The Taliban's decree has led militants to kill World Health Organization workers who are trying to vaccinate children, murders that have left Pakistani health officials reeling and scrambling to figure out how to get enough security for the vaccinators to do their work.

Is it any good?

This harrowing, eye-opening documentary makes it clear how the Taliban's paranoia has helped a disease that's now virtually non-existent in the Western world rise at alarming levels in Pakistan. Polio is such a health crisis that the World Health Organization had deployed teams of native workers to help vaccinate children via oral drops that require more than one dose to work effectively. Stories captured here include that of a health worker whose niece and sister-in-law were both killed in the act of trying to vaccinate a poor village's children. Despite her grief, the woman courageously continues to work on the vaccination team in tribute to her departed loved ones.

Roberts doesn't just interview the local and national WHO officials coordinating efforts in Pakistan; he also talks to devout Muslim Pakistani men who explain why they would never allow their children to be vaccinated. Their candid, laughter-filled conversation -- in which they say that the vaccinators are actually spies for American and European Christians and Jews and that the supposed vaccines are poisonous and will leave their children diseased and infertile -- is absolutely chilling. But not as chilling as the film's shots of the blood-stained concrete or bullet-riddled doorways where WHO employees had been gunned down and left for dead, all out of a misguided fear that the vaccinators are doing the devil's work, when in fact, they're trying to save the children of Pakistan. This isn't an "easy" documentary to watch, but it's important and will make viewers wonder how they can help.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether this story has "heroes" and "villains" like a fictional narrative. If so, which is which? How can you tell?/violence-in-the-media


  • Do you think the footage of fighting, violence, and corpses is necessary to this documentary? Why or why not?

  • How does Every Last Child describe the relationship between politics and public health? How does one influence the other? What about religion?

Movie details

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