Operation Smile Italia non-profit organisation is a foundation created in 2000, consisting of volunteer doctors, nurses and healthcare operators who undertake humanitarian missions in over 60 countries worldwide to correct serious facial malformations such as harelips and cleft palates, burns and trauma through reconstructive plastic surgery. In September 2011 Smile House in Milan was opened, the first centre in Italy for research into maxillofacial infantile congenital malformations.
The idea is to be able to do the same thing in Lazio, especially in Rome and its province where, owing to the lack of facilities and cuts to public health spending, the entire ward for maxillofacial surgery at Santo Spirito Hospital has been closed, thus leaving doctors and nurses without the premises and instruments to work, despite still being under contract with the Rome local health authority (ASL). The team is the same one which works for the Operation Smile Italia foundation.
For this reason the Foundation wishes to seek European and Italian funding with the hope of re-establishing facilities for the team which operated in Santo Spirito Hospital and thus launching another research and treatment centre for congenital malformations in infancy. At the moment two establishments have been identified which could be used to open a Smile House, which would be run by the staff who are already under contract.
Can the Commission therefore say whether there are any direct or indirect European financing channels which could be used to enable Smile House to be opened?