The prevalence of multiply resistant organisms (MROs) reported from south-eastern Mediterranean hospitals highlights the need to identify possible contributory factors to help design control interventions. This was investigated through a structured questionnaire, which examined infection control and antibiotic stewardship practices in hospitals participating or collaborating with the Antibiotic Resistance Surveillance Et Control in the Mediterranean Region (ARMed) project. A total of 45 hospitals (78.9% of invited institutions) responded to the questionnaire; 60% indicated that they faced periods of overcrowding when available bed complement was insufficient to cope with hospital admissions and 62% reported difficulties in isolating patients with MROs due to tack of available beds. Most hospitals relied mainly on washing to achieve hand hygiene, whether by non-medicated or disinfectant soaps. Dependence on solid bars of soap (28.9%) and cloth towels (37.8%) were among the problems identified as well as inconvenient distances of sinks from patient beds (66.6%). Alcohol hand rub was the predominant hand hygiene product in only 7% of hospitals. Programmes for better antibiotic use were mostly limited in scope; 33.3% reported having antibiotic prescribing guidelines and 53.3% of hospitals fed back resistance rates to prescribers. Auditing of antibiotic consumption, whether institution- or unit-based, was carried out in 37.8% of responding hospitals. Multi-faceted approaches aimed at improving isolation of patients with MROs, increasing the emphasis on hand hygiene by encouraging greater use of alcohol hand rubs and introducing effective antibiotic stewardship programmes should be encouraged in south-eastern Mediterranean hospitals. (c) 2008 The Hospital Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.