Where Would We Be Without ATMs, GSMs & Sayana Press in Nigeria?

A few years ago, I was a young manager working with a conglomerate in Nigeria. Living in Nigeria was a very interesting experience given that some conveniences taken for granted today were not available in those days. For instance, ATMs, (Automated Teller Machines) and GSMs (Global System for Mobile Communication Network) which were introduced into the Nigerian banking and telecommunication sectors respectively in later years were absent at that time. These introductions changed the Nigerian socio-economic landscape and novel lifestyles became the norm.

ATMs improved banking services in Nigeria making them easier and faster and reduced wait times for customers who desire responses at the speed of lightning. Gone are the long queues in banking halls for cash withdrawals.  ATM brought convenience to bank customers and eliminated undue stress customers endured in banking halls. A few months ago, a neighbor’s child became suddenly ill one Saturday morning and there was no single cash in the home. Their saving grace was the nearby ATM machine where the frantic father ran out to obtain money for possible hospital treatment. On getting to the hospital, he was informed that he needn’t have bothered because he could have effected a faster payment on the hospitals POS machines. I cannot imagine if this scenario had played out in the outdated era, the poor father may have been told to wait till Monday when banking halls are open for business. Imagine the strain he would endure when the life of his only child was hanging in the balance and he did not have money to make payments. That is the power of new technology on everyday lifestyle!

With GSMs, a whole new world was created in Nigeria and even till date, Nigeria is still reaping the benefits of introducing the mobile communication industry. Do we talk about the ease and convenience of communication? Recently, a friend wanted to visit and called me to find out if I was home before he began the long ride to my place. After the conversation, I started wondering how we arranged such visits before the advent of GSMs in Nigeria. When I send employees on business assignments to neighboring states and they need to make a road trip, I monitor the progress of the journey through our mobile phones. I cannot imagine the mental agony I would endure if my family or employees embarked on trips and I couldn’t call to find out about their welfare or the progress of their trips. The telecommunication industry should be commended daily for saving so many Nigerians from mental stress and possible high blood pressure they would have endured if there was no means of making instant calls to obtain information.

Apart from the personal benefits GSM has brought to the lives of millions of Nigerians, the Nigerian economy is the better for its introduction. Do we talk about benefits like mobile banking, online payments, lower cost international calls and mobile TV? Even the lower prices associated with GSM have increased Internet access to a majority of the Nigerian population. With the power of internet access, whole new job classes have been created for teeming Nigerians including work from home or anywhere-else-jobs. Mobile communication meant mobile phones and Nigeria now boasts of a behemoth mobile phone market that has surpassed the expectations of global spectators. That is the power of new technology in changing lives!

In the healthcare arena, Sayana Press, a new three-month contraceptive injectable technology was introduced by DKT International Nigeria in late 2014. Sayana Press has been making impact by helping women manage their lives and fertility and avoid unwanted pregnancies. Sayana Press is a three-month injectable that has a small needle and comes in a pre-filled syringe which makes it easy to use and less painful. Great news for those who run away at the sight of long needle.

Sayana Press is discreet and only one injection gives you contraceptive protection for three solid months. It is also reversible, so you can get pregnant soon after it is removed. Sayana Press is small, light, easy-to-use, and requires minimal training. It combines the drug and needle in a Uniject injection system, making it ideal for rural settings and community-based distribution efforts and, increasingly, for women to administer themselves.

Recently, the Nigerian government approved Sayana Press injectable contraceptive for self-injection by users. I particularly like this news about self-injection approval in Nigeria because long, hazardous treks and journeys that thousands of rural women endure on their road to contraception would be eliminated. Hospital or clinic wait times for busy professionals or market women who want to obtain family planning quickly are reduced or out rightly eliminated. Once they are trained and properly counseled, these women can manage their fertility without enduring the hazardous treks, long waits, or humiliating scrutiny of a biased healthcare provider. They can administer Sayana Press in the privacy of their shop, office, bedroom, bathroom or other room. Talk about “Contraceptive Convenience” for millions of Nigerian women! Like ATMs and GSMs, Sayana Press is making lives easier for the Nigerian woman.

With the Federal Government’s goal of 36% CPR by 2018, the approvals for Sayana Press self-injection is a welcome development especially since it expands contraceptive access to millions of Nigerian women. Therefore, Sayana Press self-injection approval should not just be celebrated at the regulatory level but at the rural level because every Nigerian woman has NOW become empowered to live her life the best way she wants!

Sayana Press is a powerful gift to the Nigerian woman and as the world celebrates womanhood, the Nigerian women should be excited and enthusiastic because the Sayana Press new technology has eliminated unnecessary stress and anxiety from their lives. On this premise, I congratulate the Nigerian women and say, ‘Happy International Women’s Day!

Dimos Sakellaridis is the Country Director for DKT International Nigeria



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