Fifty years after the development of the polio vaccine in the United States, the potentially crippling polio virus still finds refuge in some of the world's most vulnerable places, poised ... See full summary »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ashfaq Bhat
Mikail Davenport
Munzareen Fatima
Michael Galway
David Heymann
Hamid Jafari
Martha Mason ...
Herself
Mohammad Gulzar Saifi
Usha Ubale
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Fifty years after the development of the polio vaccine in the United States, the potentially crippling polio virus still finds refuge in some of the world's most vulnerable places, poised to re-emerge and re-infect regions where it was stamped out decades ago. The first line of defense against such a nightmarish occurrence is a vast army of health workers who go door-to-door in some of India's poorest neighborhoods, ensuring every child is vaccinated. Their mission: to eradicate polio from the planet forever. From HBO. Written by JGower

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Documentary | Short

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1 April 2009 (USA)  »

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Extraordinary film on the efforts in India to try to wipe out polio there

This short was nominated for the Academy Award for Documentary Short. There will be spoilers ahead:

This short focuses on the campaign to eradicate polio, covering specifically the campaign by the government to have every child under five vaccinated with the Sabin vaccine. It's no small task, with millions of workers spreading out across India-the vast majority of them volunteers.

Interspersed between interviews with workers and officials in India are interviews with survivors of polio epidemics in the US. It wasn't really that long ago that polio was still a possibility in the US. All of this serves to point up a very stark reality, namely that polio isn't eradicated until it's totally gone, because someone with the virus could end up halfway around the world in a day or two.

Polio in India is essentially confined to a couple of states, but a lot of the most susceptible are poor migratory workers and it wouldn't take much to spread the disease. The sheer numbers are staggering. On a day set up to conduct a mass vaccination at booths and tents, officials expected to vaccinate something on the order of 197,000,000 children, or a number better than half the size of the current US population-and this was back in 2006 or 2007 (the documentary was released in 2009).

This short is available on DVD and is well worth seeking out. Most highly recommended.


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