Worldwide and especially among poor women, injectable contraceptives are one of the most popular methods of birth control, but in too many places they are only available in a doctor’s office or clinic. However, a new agreement signed on Thursday by drug maker Pfizer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation will make one such product available to women in 69 of the poorest countries on the globe for just $1 per three-month dose.

Sayana Press (medroxyprogesterone acetate) is a lower-dose formulation and presentation of Depo-Provera approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1992. The three-month progestin-only contraceptive product will be made available at $1 per dose to distributers, who in turn may provide the product at low-cost (or in some cases for free) to women in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda, as well as in Latin America and within the Asia Pacific region.

In 2012, an estimated 80 million women in developing countries got pregnant accidentally and at least one in four of these women resorted to an unsafe abortion. Whether planned or unexpected, pregnancy in many developing countries is a not-very-safe experience, with the overall risk of death due to a maternal cause running as high as one in 15. However, about 222 million women in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy lacked access to contraceptives and voluntary family planning services in 2012, according to a study conducted by the United Nations.

Sayana Press, a Pfizer product, is a small prefilled device that is both easy to use and non-reusable. Because Sayana Press can only be used once, the risk of any kind of infection from shared needles is eliminated. The device does not require the preparation of a needle and syringe, which makes it suitable for community-based distribution. Minimal training is necessary to teach women or their health workers how to use the device, which can be administered at home or another convenient setting. The video below, provided by YouTube, shows how the product is used:

In July 2012, the London Summit on Family Planning established the goal of providing an additional 120 million women in the world’s 69 poorest countries with access to voluntary family planning services by 2020. At that time, experts identified the need for a new, injectable contraceptive device available for use in non-clinical settings. Sayana Press, which fits that bill, has been approved by regulatory authorities in the European Union and a number of the focus countries.

In July 2014, global partners launched an introductory program of Sayana Press, including the distribution of nearly 75,000 units and training of about 2,500 health care providers. In Burkina Faso alone, preliminary data indicated that more than 5,700 women have begun using Sayana Press, with 1,650 or so of these women new to family planning.

“Voluntary family planning is one of the great public health advances of the past century,” notes the Bell & Melinda Gates Foundation in their strategy overview statement. Their stated mission is to bring access to quality birth control to an additional 120 million women and girls in the poorest countries by 2020 without coercion or discrimination. The foundation has an additional longer-term goal of providing universal access to voluntary family planning.