Cooperazione Odontoiatrica Internazionale ETS
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WHAT WE DO ABROAD

COI has been working for many years to guarantee the right to basic oral care and to global health, to reduce inequalities in people’s living conditions through sustainable international cooperation projects.

COI has developed qualified experience to intervene on:

  • training and professional updating of local staff;
  • prevention and education to oral and basic health;
  • setting up of dental clinics and transfer of suitable technologies;
  • humanitarian emergency;
  • rehabilitation of medical care and prevention services post-emergency or war;
  • sending NGO workers and volunteers for medical care activities.

We currently have active projects in Africa, Asia and Europe.

CURRENT PROJECTS:

Bosnia-Erzegovina

“Healthy teeth for a smiling child”

Since 2008, thanks to the dedicated support of our volunteers, we organize missions to operate under general anesthesia on young patients with disabilities at the Mostar Hospital in Bosnia and Erzegovina.
There we also engage in trainings to the local staff and in the provision of oral hygiene information to the parents of young patients with disabilities. We also carry out visits and tartar ablations with ultrasound, and we create, upon request, prosthetic devices to be distributed free of charge to economically disadvantaged individuals with disabilities.

Our activities are extended to all the young people in the area, from every ethnic group.

 

Project Manager: Paolo Rossi
Partners: Caritas Mostar and Goal Smile Onlus

Burkina Faso

SYNERGY. Schools, young entrepreneurs, healthcare workers for the promotion of health in the decentralized cooperation between Trino and Banfora. “If you dream alone, it’s just a dream, if you dream together, it’s the reality that begins.”

In response to the significant humanitarian crisis which has been affecting Burkina Faso in recent years due to the difficult political transition and growing insecurity in the country, in 2022 the Municipality of Trino, in partnership with COI and various other entities, launched this project in the Banfora area. The project aims to improve health conditions in the Banfora area through hygiene and health education interventions and combating chronic malnutrition in the context of maternal and child care.

Within the project COI is engaged in dental training activities for dentists, healthcare personnel, teachers, and non-teaching staff, in order to disseminate good practices related to proper nutrition and dental hygiene. This training includes missions to Turin by Burkinabè dentists, aimed at carrying out internships at the University of Turin.

 

Lead partner: Municipality of Trino
Other project partners: Comitato del Gemellaggio di Banfora, Associazione Internazionale Volontari Laici (LVIA), Comitato del Gemellaggio di Trino ODV, Istituto Comprensivo di Trino, Istituto di Istruzione Superiore “Galileo Ferraris-IPSEOA “S. Ronco”, Ponti SpA, Centro Territoriale per il Volontariato Bi-Vc (CTV), Mundi Riso Srl, I Lions italiani Con i Bambini nel Bisogno Onlus, Azienda Sanitaria Locale Vercelli, Associazione Crescere

The project is carried out thanks to the contribution of the Piedmont Region – International Relations and Cooperation Sector

 

Project in collaboration with the associations that make up the Alleanza Dentisti per il Mondo: Fondazione ANDI, COI, SMOM, and Smile Mission

The project, started in 2016 at the request of a dental clinic of the Centre Medical de Beguédo, has covered the vast territory of the municipalities of Beguédo, Niaogho, and Boussouma. The project involved the implementation of an oral health education program and therapeutic assistance for school-age children with severe oral pathologies.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Marco Negro
Partners: SMOM (until 2018), Fondazione ANDI, Smile Mission
Project funded by the partner associations

Lebanon

Video made by the local partner association Beit Atfal Assumoud – National Institution of Social Care and Vocational Training (NISCVT).

Support to pediatric dental clinics in the Palestinian refugee camps

The project, started in 2003 and funded annually from Tavola Valdese, has supported five dental clinics in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. COI has organized professional updating activities to the local Doctor and Dentist following WHO guidelines and, at the same time, the nursing staff on the correct procedure to sterilization, dental assistant and training on oral hygiene.

The current project phase includes the support of 4 dental clinics in the camps of Shatila, Beddawi, Burj el Shamal, and Nahr el Bared and the strengthening of cross-infection control in the 7 pediatric dental clinics managed by the local partner NISCVT.

A new profile, designated to do the control and monitoring, has already been formed by COI Volunteers and is working at the 7 clinics managed by the local partner. The project, therefore, will follow up the control and monitoring activity which, after the first report, has already provided encouraging results in many clinics.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Patrizia Di Caccamo
Local Partner: Beit Atfal Assumoud – National Institution of Social Care and Vocational Training (NISCVT) 
Project supported by Chiesa Valdese – Ufficio Otto per Mille

 

otto x mille Chiesa Valdese

CLOSED PROJECTS:

Bosnia-Erzegovina

2009-2012

In Bosnia, a new comprehensive dental service was installed in Srebrenica thanks to COI and Caritas Trieste, featuring two units dedicated to social dentistry. The young Serbian colleague, Dr. Rade Matic, participated in our training activities in Mostar and provided free treatment for cases reported by our local partner, the association “House of Trust.”
The project was implemented by enhancing social work in the area, training and supporting local staff so that they could carry out awareness and prevention activities in the schools of the Srebrenica region. Interventions were carried out by local dentists and Italian volunteers directly in the field, and included the distribution of awareness brochures and a oral hygiene kit: toothbrush, toothpaste, and plaque disclosing tablets.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Paolo Rossi
Project co-funded by the Province of Trieste

Burkina Faso

ENNDAM PROJECT 2020 – Cooperation between Piedmont Municipalities / Municipality of Gorom-Gorom (2020 – 2021)

The project, presented in partnership with the Municipality of Piossasco in November 2020 and carried out throughout 2021, pursued two main objectives: strengthening the territorial systems of agro-pastoral production in the Municipality of Gorom-Gorom, with particular attention to the socioeconomic inclusion of young people and women, and strengthening the services offered by the Municipality of Gorom-Gorom to the benefit of its citizens.

COI’s activities included managing a distance training program for teachers and educators of minors in the Gorom-Gorom region, for a total of 60 beneficiaries. Specifically, a webinar was recorded and then provided both online and physically (through the mailing of 80 USB sticks containing the course) to reach those who did not have internet access.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Marco Negro
Lead Partner: Municipality of Piossasco; Municipality of Gorom-Gorom
Project carried out with the contribution of the Piedmont Region – International Affairs Sector



COI-Burkina-faso

Health, school, and food security for the Sahel region in the current emergency situation (2016-2019)

This project reactivated the already established collaboration between COI, the Municipality of Piossasco and its network of municipalities, and the Onlus “Con I bambini nel Bisogno” in the Gorom-Gorom area. Its aim was to improve the enrollment rate, food security, and health of the population in the Sahel, one of the most emergency-stricken areas in sub-Saharan Africa.

The project’s activities focused on the theme of school-nutrition-health, to address the emergencies in the area. Specifically, it aimed to improve the infrastructure of two public school buildings, increase the food security of students through the school garden system, and strengthen teacher training in health to promote the improvement of the health conditions of the school population.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Marco Negro
Lead Partners: Municipality of Piossasco, Municipality of Gorom-Gorom
Other Partner: Con I bambini nel Bisogno Onlus
Project supported by Chiesa Valdese – Ufficio Otto per Mille (2016-2017) and subsequently carried out with the contribution of the Piedmont Region – International Affairs Sector (2018-2019)

 

otto x mille Chiesa Valdese   

Actions to protect the health of the school population of the Municipality of Gourcy in response to health problems, through prevention, access to drinking water, the construction of a school, and the promotion of the role of women (2012-2013)

The project was carried out in the municipality of Gourcy (northwest Burkina Faso) to protect the school population, with a series of actions aligned with municipal development plans and the Millennium Development Goals (2, 3, 4, 6, 8). The project included health interventions, such as screening activities in primary schools for about 2,500 children aged 6 to 12, training teachers on personal hygiene education and health promotion.

Actions supporting educational and food security policies included the construction of a school, a school canteen, and a well in the village of Zitoessin.

Finally, awareness-raising actions on the role of women and health promotion were carried out through various activities, with the support of local associations such as the Women’s Association, Radio Voix du Paysan, and the Street Theater Association.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Marco Negro
Partners in Piedmont: Con i Bambini nel Bisogno Onlus, ECITOH – European Centre for Intercultural Training in Oral Health, Municipality of Carmagnola
Local Partners: Municipality of Gourcy, Basic Education District (CEB), A.P.E. (Association of Parents of Students), A.F.G. Association, Radio Voix du Paysan, C.A.P. Association
Project carried out with the contribution of the Piedmont Region – International Affairs Sector

 

 

Starting a handicraft activity for the production of soap and toothpaste in Gorom Gorom (2010-2012)

The project aimed to contribute to the fight against poverty in the sub-Saharan area through vocational training and providing employment opportunities in the area in question. It involved the artisanal production of soap and toothpaste within the structure of the Women’s Association of Gorom-Gorom (Maison de la Femme).

This effort aimed to address the employment and training needs of the local populations, particularly women, one of the most disadvantaged groups in Burkina Faso. At the same time it aimed to introduce essential personal hygiene products to the market at a price accessible to all social classes.

The chemical formulation of the toothpaste and the training of the women were carried out by the APPA Onlus Aid Progress Pharmacist Agreement Association, in collaboration with the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Turin.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Giancarlo Vecchiati
Partners in Piedmont: APPA – Aid Progress Pharmacist Agreement Onlus, European Center for Intercultural training in Oral health (ECITOH)
Local Partners: Maison de la Femme
Project carried out with the contribution of the Piedmont Region – International Affairs Sector

 

Actions to protect the school population of the Municipality of Gorom Gorom against health issues, through prevention and care, access to clean water, school rehabilitation, and promotion of the role of women. Phase II (2010-2011)

The project is a natural continuation of the one undertaken in 2009 in the municipality of Gorom-Gorom. It included direct support actions for local educational policies, such as the construction of a new school; actions aimed at ensuring food security, such as the construction of a new well, a school canteen, and two school gardens. In terms of health, the project again included screening of the school population, teacher training, and radio communications for raising awareness among the population on personal hygiene and basic health issues. A dental department was set up in the Gorom-Gorom Health District, thanks to training of operators and the provision of basic equipment. At the time of project implementation, the nearest dental district was in Dorì, 45 km away from Gorom-Gorom, with an average travel time of 2 hours.

From the previous project, it was found that simple personal hygiene practices (better hand and face hygiene) increased school attendance. For this reason, a pilot sub-project was introduced in 4 schools, which implemented basic personal hygiene norms such as washing hands and face with soap and brushing teeth after meals.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Marco Negro
Partners in Piedmont: Con i bambini nel bisogno Onlus, European Center for Intercultural Training in Oral Health (ECITOH), Comuni di Piossasco, Villarbasse, Airasca, Avigliana, Roletto e Orbassano
Local Partners: Comune di Gorom Gorom, Circoscription de l’Education de Base (CEB), Distretto sanitario di Gorom Gorom, Maison de la Femme
Project carried out with the contribution of the Piedmont Region – International Affairs Sector

 

Actions to protect the school population of the Municipality of Gorom Gorom against health issues, through prevention and care, access to clean water, school rehabilitation, and promotion of the role of women (2009-2010)

The project aimed to contribute to the protection of the school population in the municipality of Gorom-Gorom through a series of actions aligned with the Millennium Development Goals (2, 3, 4, 7, 8). This was achieved through direct support to educational sector policies (construction of a primary school and teacher training); health sector (screening and treatment activities, training of local personnel, education on personal hygiene and disease prevention); promotion of the role of women (nutrition education, hygiene education, and promoting school access); cultural activities (through rural radio programming); and actions for food security (construction of a well and nutrition education in the community).

In Italy, activities included Education for Development (EAS) in schools, in the community, and within the health-university context.

 

Partners in Piedmont: Con i bambini nel bisogno Onlus, European Center for Intercultural training in Oral health (ECITOH), Comuni di Piossasco, Villarbasse, Airasca, Avigliana, Roletto e Orbassano
Local Partners: Comune di Gorom Gorom, Circoscription de l’Education de Base (CEB), Distretto sanitario di Gorom Gorom, Maison de la Femme
Project carried out with the contribution of the Piedmont Region – International Affairs Sector

 

Etiopia

COI-Etiopia

Oral health in Wolisso area (2016)

This project was initiated to continue the oral health promotion activities in Wolisso, following the installation of the dental service in Wolisso and the excellent results of the activities carried out by COI from 2012 to 2015, thanks to the support of the Tavola Valdese.

Specifically, the project included training activities for 20 peripheral health post operators and 20 teachers on the topic of personal and oral hygiene, the continuation of on-the-job training for the dentist and nurse at St. Luke Hospital, and the provision of disposable materials and dental instruments.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Cristiana Zerosi
Partners: St. Luke Catholic Hospital and Doctors with Africa – CUAMM
Project co-funded by: Naccari Rava Foundation

Continuation of the oral health promotion project for children in Wolisso Area (2014-2015)

Overall Objective
Improvement of oral and general health among children and the community in the Wolisso area.

Project Summary
Following the excellent results of the first year of the project, it was decided to continue integrating the oral health component within an integrated program of prevention and care in the Wolisso area. The project includes: training for teaching staff on personal and oral hygiene, with the inclusion of the new Wolisso 2 school; continuation of on-the-job training for the dentist and nurse at St. Luke Hospital; provision of disposable materials and dental instruments.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Patrizia Di Caccamo
Partners: St. Luke Catholic Hospital and Doctors with Africa – CUAMM
Project supported by Chiesa Valdese – Ufficio Otto per Mille

 

otto x mille Chiesa Valdese

Integration of oral health components in health promotion activities for the child population in Wolisso Area (2012-2013)

General Objective

Completing the activities aimed at health promotion among the child population benefiting from the activities carried out by the NGO Doctors with Africa – CUAMM in Wolisso area. This has been achieved by integrating the oral health component within the framework of an integrated prevention and care program.

Project Summary

The aim was to implement a primary prevention program integrated with other child health promotion actions carried out by CUAMM in the Wolisso district. This would over time lead to a reduction in oral diseases in the most vulnerable population groups, thus reducing the need for clinical treatments. The best results in the prevention of oral diseases in a population are achieved by focusing actions primarily on children, as it is during childhood that tooth replacement occurs and permanent teeth emerge. Experiences have shown that caries prevention achieves the maximum impact if started with baby teeth, reaching the best results if focused on the 6-12 age group during the mixed dentition phase until the completion of dentition. Therefore, COI dedicated itself to training local personnel so that they would gradually acquire the knowledge and be able to independently manage the oral health problems in that area. The project included actions in maternal and child health, training school staff and students, and using the dental chair for basic care in an integrated prevention program in addition to the current use of clinical assistance for the population.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Patrizia Di Caccamo
Partners: Doctors with Africa – CUAMM
Project supported by Chiesa Valdese – Ufficio Otto per Mille

 

otto x mille Chiesa Valdese

2009-2012

In April 2009 Dr. Borsatto, representing a group of private donors from Veneto, approached COI suggesting a collaboration for the establishment of a dental service at St. Luke Catholic Hospital in Wolisso, a hospital in the Oromia region managed by the NGO Doctors with Africa CUAMM.

In August 2009 an assessment mission was conducted by Dr. Borsatto and Dr. Paolo Rossi. Subsequently, agreements were made with the local government, the Italian Cooperation representative, and the hospital management.

The facility was equipped with two dental units and an additional chair for initial consultations, a sterilization room, and radiology services. It was managed by a young man named Thilaun, who had studied thanks to a COI scholarship.

The project included periodic missions by COI volunteers for the continuing educational program of the local staff. At CUAMM’s request COI also established another scholarship for a young Ethiopian to obtain a legal qualification to practice dentistry.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Giuseppe Borsatto

Kenya

Kitengela Project (2012-2016)

In close collaboration with the Association Africa Rafiki Onlus, Goal Smile Onlus, and Africa Rafiki NGO Kenya (recognized by the Kenyan government), COI organized a primary health service and dental care service which have since been managed by the local partner in the area inhabited by the Maasai (central Kenyan highlands).

Specifically, between 2012 and 2013, COI oversaw:

  • the organization of the dental service for emergency cases at the Kitengela dispensary
  • the training of the local staff in evaluating and managing emergencies
  • actions of awareness raising and provision of information on oral hygiene and general health and personal care topics, aimed at the local staff and the population, also through school-based education
  • actions to counter primary malnutrition in children by providing know-how and suitable materials for the local preparation of therapeutic foods, training the relevant personnel, and supplying the necessary equipment and tools for distributing these therapeutic foods in the rural areas inhabited by the nomadic and semi-nomadic populations of the arid central Kenyan highlands

Subsequently, between 2014 and 2016, COI conducted missions to monitor activities and sent dental and consumable materials.

 

Project manager: Dr. Paolo Rossi
Partners: Africa Rafiki Onlus, Africa Rafiki Kenya, Goal Smile Onlus, Associazione Le Medicine – Onlus

COI-Kenya

Dental service at Nayruthia Dispensary (2012-2016)

The dental clinic was established by the Association Goal Smile in November 2012: a completely new structure built next to the existing dispensary and, like the latter, managed by the Elizabethan Sisters.

The facility was equipped with three dental offices, a digital radiology room, and a sterilization room. It was staffed by a Kenyan dentist, a nurse, and a cleaner, supported by Italian volunteers, dentists, and hygienists when present.

The Association Goal Smile and COI contributed to the training of the locally hired staff, who managed the dental service for the district’s population independently. They also contributed to the extraordinary maintenance of the equipment and the dispatch of volunteers for a prevention program benefiting the large school population in the area.

In the final phase of the project, between 2014 and 2016, COI conducted missions to monitor the activities of the dental offices and provided dental materials and supplies to them.

 

Project manager: Dr. Paolo Rossi
Partners: Goal Smile Onlus

Lebanon

Frame, Voice, Report! (2018-2019)

In 2018 COI participated to the “Frame, Voice, Report!” call of application, a support facility granted by the European Commission with the objective of strengthening and enhancing awareness and engagement among EU citizens in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.

COI passed the call of application presenting the project “Invisible Stories: the Palestinian resilience in Lebanon” which was born thanks to a constructive collaboration among the Lebanese NGO NISCVT Assumoud, COI and two journalists from Turin, to provide the necessary media attention towards different stories. The aim was to create powerful narrations coming directly from the refugees’ experience that together could illustrate the migrants’ strengths, fighting the obstacles of scarce national services, instead of framing a victimizing notion of refugee. The lens through which these stories were described is the third Global Goal: Good health and well-being, under the category of “Migration”.

The activities of this project, ended in June 2019, consisted of:

  • the creation of a docu-film “Invisible Stories” that has won  3 International Prizes;
  • the writing of several written articles published on Italian newspaper and magazines;
  • a photo exhibit at the Polo del ‘900 palace in Turin and in the Community Center “Cascina Roccafranca” (Turin);
  • the production of a catalog with the photos exhibited.

Click here to watch the trailer of the “Invisible Stories” docu-film


The project was carried out in collaboration with the local association:
Beit Atfal Assumoud – National Institution of Social Care and Vocational Training (NISCVT).

The project was funded through the COP (Consorzio delle Ong Piemontesi) by “Frame, Voice, Report!” with the contribution of the European Union

 

                                                     

Educational and nutritional support for young Syrian refugees in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon (2016-2017)

Since 2011, Lebanon has been facing a major emergency related to the high number of refugees coming from Syria. Some estimates indicate an influx of nearly one million people into a country with a population of 4 million. The refugee camps where the NGO Assomoud is active have taken on the emergency of Syrian and Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS – Palestinian Refugees from Syria), including many families with children, within their social, health, and education programs.

COI had already been supporting the activities of the local partner for several years, aiming at the promotion of the social inclusion of refugees, particularly children.

The project supported the school fees of 225 children from Syria, who were attending schools managed by the local partner. These fees, along with school supplies, included a daily meal to be consumed at school and the involvement of parents in educational and awareness activities.

 

Project Manager: Dr. Patrizia Di Caccamo
Local Partner: Beit Atfal Assumoud – National Institution of Social Care and Vocational Training (NISCVT)
Project supported by Chiesa Valdese – Ufficio Otto per Mille

 

otto x mille Chiesa Valdese

UNRWA - United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (2009 - 2019)

COI-UNRWA

Oral Health Survey

Throughout the Middle East the prevalence of dental caries reaches very high levels. As many studies have shown, this is due to the convergence of behavioral and social risk factors that combine their specific impacts.

Diet high in sugars, poor oral hygiene, and reduced enamel resistance due to nutritional deficiencies and water quality, as widely demonstrated, are concentrated among the most disadvantaged population groups. The Palestinian population, residing for decades in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza, is particularly exposed to caries disease, especially the younger individuals.

The UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), which assists the refugees with a program based on primary health care, sought COI’s support as it was faced with a very high disease burden. Initially, in 2009, COI was asked to evaluate their services to the population. Then, in 2011, UNRWA decided to follow the recommendations expressed in COI’s report and thus invested in prevention and adopted an oral health promotion program in the five aforementioned areas, focusing on counteracting risk factors.

Representing COI and the WHO CC in Milan, Dr. Patrizia Di Caccamo from COI and Dr. Andrea Senna traveled to Amman in 2010, later joined by Dr. Erica Giuliani and Dr. Simone Tundo on a second mission.

The first step was to measure the health status of the population in the different areas served by the Agency and to conduct a thorough survey according to WHO guidelines on the oral health status of 12-year-old Palestinians.

Years later, at the Agency’s request, the experience was repeated to monitor the disease trend and analyze the role of risk factors in depth, considering also the dramatic worsening of living conditions for the civilian population, especially in Syria. On this occasion calibration took place in February 2016, with Dr. Mariantonietta Arrica from the University of Sassari and Dr. Cristiana Zerosi from COI traveling to Amman and following the same calibration procedure.

The trained and calibrated colleagues conducted school visits. The data collected from the concluded epidemiological survey revealed interesting aspects. Everything was summarized and explained in a scientific article published in BMC Oral Health. In summary, it highlights the significant diversity among the areas involved but also a strong presence of dental caries already at twelve years old, correlated, as seen everywhere, with the consumption of free sugars and poor living conditions. Some children had already lost some permanent teeth. Therefore, we continued monitoring and supporting them to make the agreed prevention program effective and systematic with the colleagues and Agency leaders.

Scientific article published on BMC Oral Health