Lionel Messi takes a break from football to promote Hepatitis C charity event in Egypt
Argentinian football star Lionel Messi was in Egypt Tuesday as the face of an initiative to promote the North African country as a medical tourism destination for hepatitis C patients.
Egypt: Argentinian football star Lionel Messi was in Egypt on Tuesday as the face of an initiative to promote the North African country as a medical tourism destination for hepatitis C patients.
A blood-borne viral disease, hepatitis C is highly prevalent in Egypt.
"Medication against hepatitis C saves lives, let's put an end to the waiting lists," the Barcelona FC superstar said on his official Facebook page.
Messi has signed to become the ambassador for Tour n' Cure, the Egyptian initiative said on its website.
The programme offers treatment for hepatitis C patients from all over the world "with no waiting time and at a fraction of the cost," it said.
It also promoted "the opportunity to take in the beauty of Egypt and visit historic landmarks during the days of the treatment, while enjoying a relaxing stay at a 5-star hotel".
Hepatitis C affects 130 to 150 million people globally and can result in liver cirrhosis or cancer.
According to the World Health Organization, it is responsible for up to 500,000 deaths yearly.
Messi's visit to Egypt was initially scheduled for December, but the footballer postponed it after a suicide bombing of a Cairo church killed 29 people.
He again deferred the visit last week after Barca's 4-0 defeat to Paris SG, Egypt's tourism ministry said, but did not give any reason for the postponement.
Barca sit ninth in the table ahead of a crunch week that includes league games against Valencia on Sunday and Real Madrid next weekend, with a Champions League match at home to Dynamo Kiev in between.
Josep Bartomeu said that most of the club’s financial woes had been caused by the impact of the pandemic, which closed down Camp Nou for more than a year and reduced other sources of revenue.
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