A Barbadian clinic revolutionising the treatment of menopause and how women see it is being hailed as a “trailblazer” in helping to fulfil a vision for life sciences and biotechnology in Barbados.
Located in Canewood, St Michael, BioConnect Medical Centre is the only clinic in the Caribbean explicitly devoted to women transitioning through the stages of menopause, and it is being recognised as one of the Barbadian businesses emerging in the life sciences and biotechnology sector that is eager to offer its services to the world.
BioConnect has caught the eye of the Export Barbados, formerly the Barbados Industrial Development Corporation (BIDC), whose chief executive officer, Mark Hall said the life wellness market was growing between five to 10 per cent annually
“We’re shaping it out that those life-centric industries can use Barbados as that hub to really build out the sector, do research and development, and also to build out scalable industries but high-value services and products,” he said, adding that the sector was ripe for investment.
“I’m really excited about menopause as a specific, targeted niche area that is catering to women all over the globe, domiciled here in Barbados and in partnership with tourism,” Hill said. “We are positioning the life sciences space where we have an eco-system that makes access to scientific technology a lot more affordable.”
Medical Director of BioConnect, Dr Roberta Corona said the clinic was the manifestation of her dream of creating a safe space for women and filling the gap in health care and research on menopause.
“We are here for the world; we are not here only for Barbados,” she said during a recent tour of the facility by a team from Export Barbados (BIDC), led by Hill.
“We are in Barbados because we found Barbados was the perfect location for this. It is the perfect place to serve the Caribbean, where there is a huge lack, even bigger than in Barbados.
“Our mission is to create a menopause society for the Caribbean to create a community that will bring women together, and it will be a platform where we provide education, evidence-based medicine, and … a community for women to exchange experiences.”
Dr Corona, the only certified menopause practitioner in Barbados, said menopause is not simply related to gynaecology, but it also affects every function of a woman’s body.
She said BioConnect’s goal was to treat menopausal women holistically, making them healthier women.
Chief executive officer of the BioConnect, Rachel de Gale said the clinic, which opened on May 23, welcomed 125 new patients in its first month as it pursued the mission of changing the health-care landscape and promoting complete wellness.
She said the clinic has attracted patients from the Caribbean and North America so far, and its operators welcomed the support and technical assistance received from Export Barbados and were ready to do their part to help Barbados achieve its life sciences goal.
“If you take a look at your telephone screen and you type ‘B’, ‘I’, ‘O’, 246 comes up; it is the area code of Barbados,” De Gale said. “Barbados was always destined to be the bio-life sciences headquarters of the world. No one else has our area code, and now it’s time for us to rise up; it’s time for us to be the leader.”
In addition to providing gynecological services and menopause management tailored for each woman, BioConnect offers treatment for hormone optimisation, bone health, incontinence, sexual health, weight management, and aesthetic medicine.
BioConnect also intends to conduct studies to gather data and write guidelines specifically for women of colour because most studies or guidelines target Caucasians.