Maria Rebollo Polo, MD, MPH, PhD

Dr. Maria Rebollo Polo, MD, MPH, PhD, is the Team Leader of Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN) at the WHO Regional Office for Africa. She is a physician and public health specialist with almost two a decades of experience in NTDs, project management and international public health throughout Africa, Asia, and the Americas. She also holds a PhD in medical epidemiology.

In 2017, she joined the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases, where she is spearheading an effort to achieve the global NTD control and elimination goals in Africa by 2020. 

She most recently served as Program Director of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center (NTD-SC) at the Task Force for Global Health, USA where she guided the strategic planning, development and implementation of a complex, multi-institutional operational research program coordinated by the NTD-SC with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and DFID and collaboration support from key partner organizations including Ministries of Health, the World Health Organization, , pharmaceutical partners, and other organizations involved with NTD control and elimination.

Prior to that, she led monitoring and evaluation (M&E) at the Centre for NTDs at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, working directly with 15 countries and dozens of partners to map disease, measure program impact and strengthen national M&E processes. 

Additionally she was medical officer at the NTD department for the Pan American Health Organization PAHO/WHO were from Washington DC she lead elimination efforts of NTDs in the Americas and the Caribbean

As founder and CEO of Zerca Y Lejos –ZYL since 2000 (, Maria also has had the opportunity to oversee multiple projects focused on comprehensive rural development activities in Cameroon as that country works to achieve the global development goals, including those targeting the NTDs.

Maria is a member of several scientific societies including the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Spanish Society of Tropical Medicine, where she served on the Executive Board as the operational research lead. She has also served as member of the Technical Consultative Committee of the former African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC)