A Documentary about the African polio Health Workers


who protect us all.


On the Frontlines of Ebola and Polio


The global health community is on the brink of eradicating polio -- a virus that can irreversibly paralyze or kill even the healthiest individuals. The developed world is all but polio-free, but it still lingers in war zones and remote regions in West Africa. Until the elimination of polio everywhere, the potential for outbreak exists anywhere.


As we stand on the brink of polio’s eradication, Circle of Defense looks closely at the community health infrastructure in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, their health workers, success stories, and how they are task-shifting in the case of Ebola and other emergent diseases. We follow polio and Ebola survivors, community healthcare workers on the ground, as well as experts from stakeholders around the world, including the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Rotary International. 


While the international health community cannot predict what the next outbreak will be, they can plan for how they will respond -- this is legacy planning, and it is our best line of defense in supporting community health workers and preserving the response infrastructure.



Thanks in part to vaccines...

Polio is nearly eradicated.



Kate Vergara MPH, PhD dedicated the last 20 years addressing infectious diseases in emerging economy settings.  She has worked on four continents with some of the world’s most vulnerable populations and is steadfast in bringing greater attention and improved healthcare infrastructure to underserved people.  Intestinal parasites, tuberculosis, and vaccine-preventable diseases are some of the major areas of her focus. Kate was awarded a Fulbright scholarship for independent public health research in Peru in 2003-04, a Masters degree in Public Health in 2006, and a PhD in Public Health in 2019. The documentary short film Circle of Defense was born out of her doctoral dissertation entitled “What Is After Polio? Priorities & Adaptability In Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan & Somalia”   In 2015, Kate started her own global public health consulting company and has been awarded grants from USAID, World Vision US, and the Gates Foundation.

Kate Vergara

Theresa Nicholson Jarka is a photographer and screenwriter living in Glen Ellyn, IL. She graduated from the University of Madison, Wisconsin with a BFA in Photography and Film. Theresa wrote sketch reviews for stage at Second City in Chicago -- where she was the head writer for a review production. She has since written scripts for children's television, and a feature film for Three's A Company in Australia. The script was delivered in early 2018. Theresa is also an editorial photographer and videographer whose work can be found on her website: theresajarka.pixpa.com

Theresa Nicholson Jarka

  • Black Instagram Icon

All images © 2018 Theresa Jarka. Proudly created with Wix.com