Health – Development – Peace

COI – Cooperazione Odontoiatrica Internazionale (International Dentistry Cooperation) is the only Italian dental Non Governmental Organization (Ong) recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to the law 26.02.1987 n. 49 and an Onlus (not lucrative organization of social usefulness) according to the D. Lgs. 4.12.1997 n.460. It is member of COP - Piedmontese ONG Consortium.

COI came into being in May 1993 as a result of the experiences of a group of colleagues and friends who had collaborated over the years with Medicus Mundi Italia, the important NGO which had a specialist dentistry section amongst its various activities.


To promote basic oral health in low-income countries and in disadvantaged Italian communities

The idea of creating an autonomous specialist organization came about due oral health being a necessity and right denied to millions of people. These services were neglected, lacking staff, services, international cooperation programmes and quality control. It was essential to remove the fairytale image of social dentistry, creating a structured organization enabling consistent, professional and readily available treatment. COI’s aim was to bring together dentists, dental technicians, dental nurses and hygienists, as well as figures from industry, traders from Dental world, professional and scientific associations - 'strength in numbers', as they say.

The following were important landmarks for COI history:

  • In 1998, COI started working with four other dentistry NGOs: AOI (Aide Odontologique Internationale), DHIN (Dental Health International Netherlands), OS (Odontologia Solidaria), ST (Sunnymede Trust), creating a dentistry network at a European level.
  • In 2000, a new idea came to fruition with the European Centre for Intercultural Training in Oral Health (ECITOH) which trains volunteers and dental staff in developing countries, conducts research and facilitates cultural exchanges in collaboration with the University of Torino.
  • In 2004, along with Caritas di Roma and WHO collaboration center in Milan, COI started Gruppo italiano per l’accesso alle cure odontoiatriche (GIACO) to promote oral health in disadvantaged communities and to improve access to dental care.
  • In 2005, COI started Osservatorio della salute orale delle comunità svantaggiate, a group monitoring the increasing need for oral health in disadvantaged communities.
  • The same year, the Minister for Foreign Affairs granted non-governmental organisation (NGO) status to COI, allowing international cooperation projects to be carried out, as well as training of volunteers and sending them to developing countries.
  • In 2006, an agreement with the University of Torino enabled the opening of a new studio beside the Lingotto Dental School in Turin.
  • The same year, the reputed Masters Degree in Oral health in disadvantaged communities and in low income Countries started in cooperation with the University of Torino. Unique in Italy, the masters prepares graduates for working and volunteering in international cooperation and solidarity projects.

International cooperation

COI believes that international cooperation is synonymous with working “with” and “for” the most disadvantaged communities. We can fight poverty only through dialogue, collaboration, transparency and shared responsibility, guaranteeing dignity, rights and opportunities for all.

COI runs international cooperation projects which cater for the specific needs of the relevant communities, react to the communities' problems, train local staff, inform about prevention and cure. It uses technologies pertinent to environmental conditions, that are easy to use and maintain. This comes from the local community, guaranteeing autonomous administration and sustainability.

Each project is subject to intense feasibility studies to define objectives, and are managed in close collaboration with local partners.

COI has acquired qualified experience in reaching its goals over the years enabling:

  • training and continued professional education of local staff;
  • prevention and education in oral and general health;
  • equipping dental surgeries and supplying suitable technologies;
  • work in emergency/war situations;
  • re-establishing care and prevention services in post-war/emergency situations;
  • sending aid-workers and volunteers.

Social dental care

Realizing projects and activities in favour of disadvantaged communities (in particular old people, handicapped, immigrants, poors).

Building the Territorial observatory on oral health of disadvantaged communities.

Taking part in the GIACO (Italian group for the dental care access) activities, whose COI is co-founder together with Caritas and the collaboration center of WHO in Milan.

Education in development  by sensibilizing the dental care community and public opinion on topics about solidarity and international cooperation

Training and research

In collaboration with the University of Turin, planning, realization and mantainment of the ”European Center for Intercultural Training in Oral Health”.

Realization of the 1st level University Master on: “Oral health in disadvantaged communities and in low income Countries”.

Operative and administrative center
Via Nizza 230 – 10126 Torino at Dental School of Turin.
Tel.: +39 0116708185
Fax: +39 0116708185
web site:


Unicredit Banca
c/c nr. 2406994 
IBAN: IT 36 D 02008 30260 000002406994

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