Barbados Prime Minister, the honourable Mia Amor Mottley, has shared her vision for the country to become the life sciences and biotechnology hub of the Caribbean. Through Export Barbados (BIDC), plans are in place to develop this industry, with women’s health identified as one of the key areas for targeted development. Here is a look at one of the pioneering companies they are working with, who are already bringing this vision to fruition.

BioConnect Medical Centre boasts many firsts for Barbados, and for the wider region. It is the first clinic in the Caribbean specifically dedicated to women’s transition through menopause, peri-menopause and post-menopause, with their unique offering of treatments and therapies, utilising state-of-the-art equipment, that is completely new to the region. For instance, the clinic has the Caribbean’s only Echolight Bone Density Ultrasound machine, a more accurate and non-radiation alternative to the traditional DEXA Scan, using REMS technology instead of X-ray technology to measure bone density.

With a holistic approach to women’s health, BioConnect Medical’s mission is rooted in improving women’s lives, and the knock-on effect this has on their families and wider communities. They offer a plethora of treatments and therapies all under one roof. Opening their doors in May 2022, the clinic saw 777 patients that year, with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), treatments for urinary incontinence (pelvic floor) and vaginal atrophy their most sought-after services. They also offer a range of aesthetic skin and body care management treatments to complement the challenges women are facing in this area as they age.

“Our focus is to change the narrative attached to ageing from ‘antiageing’ to ‘well-ageing’. We start by reviewing every area of your life and holistically set a roadmap to be the best version of You.”

- Dr Roberta Corona

Globally, the population of postmenopausal women is growing. In the last few years there has been a resurgence of research and medical advancement focused on this often overlooked and undertreated, yet vitally important, area of medicine. So much so that there has been a global shortage of HRT medication that many women rely on to ease the symptoms associated with menopause.

BioConnect Medical, working directly with global suppliers, has managed to navigate the supply chain and secure coveted stock. They have been offering telemedicine consultations and shipping HRT treatment elsewhere in the Caribbean, including Jamaica, Trinidad, St Vincent and Grenada to patients who could not source it otherwise.

Not only are their services and treatments being exported, but patients from overseas are coming to Barbados for appointments at BioConnect. Medical Tourism is a growing industry with huge potential for Barbados, and BioConnect Medical Centre is attracting people to our shores based on its unique and innovative services.

BioConnect Medical is determined to expand the horizons in its field and have a meaningful impact on women’s health in Barbados and the Caribbean. The clinic has launched a new electronic records system and will be working to compile data on bone density, menopause symptoms and other information pertaining to women’s health. The aim is to compile important data on Caribbean women, which will inform their treatment options, rather than relying on global data which does not accurately reflect the ethnic or genetic makeup of women in the region.

BioConnect is a partnership between two pioneering women. Dr Roberta Corona, Medical Director, is Barbados’ first certified menopause specialist. Originally trained in gynaecology and obstetrics, she is a Fellow in Urogynaecology and Endoscopic Pelvic Surgery at the University Hospital of Leuven, Belgium, and a North American Certified Menopause Practitioner. Rachel De Gale, CEO has a background in health management and has been one of the trailblazers in advancing the highest standards of healthcare in Barbados and the Caribbean. Together their focus is on providing solutions for women – finding the root causes of health issues and helping their patients achieve optimal health rebalancing.